Orion the Bald Eagle
Orion, a male bald eagle, arrived at Cedar Run on March 13, 2000. He came by airplane from another rehab center in Wyoming where he was nursed back to health after colliding with high-tension wires. Orion has no flight and limited use of his right wing. He is also blind in right eye.
We held a naming contest for the eagle when he arrived at Cedar Run. In Greek mythology Orion was a hunter who rose into the heavens to become a constellation, a fitting name for our feathered "star".
Orion resides in a spacious aviary on our lakeshore with a pool and waterfall. He now shares this enclosure with Halley, a non-releasable female, who arrived March 5, 2005. When visitors approach the aviary, both eagles may call out with several shrill, high pitched squeaks and cackles.
Bald Eagle Facts
- Found only in North America, from Florida to Alaska (where 80% reside)
- Endangered species in New Jersey, but numbers are steadily increasing
Only one pair remained in 1982; 71 pairs raised 118 chicks in 2011
Lives away from humans near large bodies of open water such as lakes, marshes, seacoasts and rivers, with tall trees nearby
- Often migrates in winter from northern areas to the south where open water for fishing is available, many winter in New Jersey
- Belongs to a group of birds known as raptors, or birds of prey
- Is diurnal (active in the daytime)
- Catches and kills prey with long sharp powerful talons
- Feeds primarily on fish, but also eats ducks, muskrats, rabbits, snakes, and other small animals, as well as carrion (dead animals)
- Very sharp eyesight, can see fish in the water from several hundred feet in the air.
- Mates for life, but will take a new partner if mate dies
- Builds a huge nest in the tallest available tree, adding to it year after year
- Parents share nest duties and continue to feed their young for 15 to 18 weeks
- Takes a young eagle five years for its brown head and tail feathers to grow in completely white
- Lives up to 30 years in the wild, 40 or more in captivity
Links to more facts about bald eagles