For years, January 10th has been Save the Eagles day! There are more than 60 species of eagles that live on every continent but Antarctica and while the iconic bald eagle is no longer endangered, there are many other eagle species that are considered vulnerable or endangered. Many of these species face similar threats of habitat loss, human development, and pollution.
The Steller’s Sea Eagle is one such species and are commonly found on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia and around the coasts and islands of the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea. There are some that will migrate to Japan or even Korea each winter but many will move to open waters during that same time. These eagles primarily subsist on salmon or cod, depending on where they’re located, but their diet also often consists of crabs, shellfish, squid, small animals, and some small birds. Because of habitat degradation, over-fishing, pollution, and more, these eagles have been considered ‘vulnerable’ for a couple decades now.
Another eagle species at risk is Indonesia’s national bird, the Javan hawk-eagle. These birds are found on the Indonesian island of Java (thus their name) and in the wild, they spend most of their time in forests. A big reason why this species is considered at risk is actually because of the illegal pet trade that exists within Indonesia. One study found that there are actually 13 bird species (including the Javan hawk-eagle) in Indonesia that are at risk for extinction and the illegal pet trade is a large factor to that.
Bald eagles are one of the only eagle species in the Pacific Northwest and are thriving in their own way around North America because of conservation work and advocacy. Pollution from pesticides, poaching, habitat loss, and more had all contributed to a decline in the bald eagle population during the 1970/80s but efforts to help protect these birds worked and as of August 2007, their status is of low concern.
Bald eagles are named for the fact that from a distance, their white feathered heads seem bald compared to the rest of their dark brown feathered body. These birds are opportunistic carnivores, meaning that they only eat meat but often choose whatever prey might be easiest. They’re not usually found in backyards, as they’re often found near open lakes and rivers that have good fish populations. In the Pacific Northwest, many bald eagles will eat pacific salmon.
Another eagle species that’s found around North America is the golden eagle. Unlike the bald eagle, these eagles are actually predators and while they typically eat small mammals like prairie-dogs, squirrels, and jackrabbits, they’ve been known to even taken down other animals like foxes and cranes. These birds are found year round in much of the western half of North America, including much of the Pacific Northwest.
These are just some of the many eagle species that live around the world and there are some that are considered vulnerable or endangered. Even with species like golden and bald eagles, many of these birds often face issues like pollution, habitat degradation, and in some cases, illegal pet trades.