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Survival in a Wild Habitat
Looking at Eaglets

  Here's what's happening, and why:


Notice how thick the down feathers are. They look more like fur than feathers.

  • As the outer feathers grow in, this down will be covered up by "contour feathers"--the feathers that will give it that distinctive eagle appearance. It will take 3 or 4 years for this bird to grow white feathers on its head and tail.

Do you see a little bulge on the bird's chest, on its right side?

  • That is where the bird's "crop" is. The crop is like a little sack that sticks out of the esophagus-the tube from the mouth and throat down into the stomach.
  • An eagle can swallow huge chunks of food, even bigger than its stomach can hold because the extra food goes into its crop. Little by little, as the bird's stomach empties, more food goes into it from the crop.

Looks like this bird had a good breakfast!

Journaling Questions
  • Baby birds are hatched with almost no feathers. How do they keep warm before they grow these downy feathers?
  • Why do birds need crops? Do you think they eat 3 meals a day like humans do?

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