They Aren't Bald -- so Why are They 'Bald' Eagles? | SLIDESHOW | Environment

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They Aren't Bald -- so Why are They 'Bald' Eagles? | SLIDESHOW
They Aren't Bald -- so Why are They  'Bald' Eagles? | SLIDESHOW

Pictures: Bald eagles

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Funny thing happened today at the Jacksonville zoo ...

And it's perfect for July 4.

A visitor to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens wondered aloud why the bald eagle is called "bald" at all.

The explanation from Jacksonville Zoo Deputy Director of Conservation and Education Dan Maloney?

The explanation from Maloney? "The answer is that from a distance the animals may look like they don't have any feathers on their head. But the word is derived from an Old English term that refers to being white-headed." 

He said it is kind of a coincidence because the word sounds like "bald."

Some accounts spell the old word, "balde."

On our FCN Facebook page, we've been hearing from lots of folks who see bald eagles in the wild around the First Coast.

Trishia Baxley says, "We have an eagles nest right outside my pattio window.. also when ur coming down 95 between jtb and bowden exit look up on the lights there is a nest and 2 eagles every year they come back.. so awsome!!

Tell us your eagle spottings on our FCN Facebook page.

A few other bald eagle facts from the experts:

  • The bald eagles at the Jacksonville zoo have been there since the mid-1980s. They were gunshot victims. Maloney said the fine for shooting a bald eagle can be a year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine for an individual and a $200,000 fine for a business.
  • According to National Geographic, bald eagles can live up to 35 years. Their wingspan (male birds) can reach up to 8 feet, pretty much from floor to ceiling in most houses.  They can dive on their prey at 100 mph and can spot a single fish from a mile away. NatGeo said one bald eagle's nest on record weighed two tons. 

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