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eagle2-770An American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) prepares for a graceful landing atop its nest located off the coast of Katmai National Park in Alaska. The massive nests are tactically used and built upon, year after year, by these majestic birds of prey, with both the male and female adult eagles sharing in the parental duties of raising and feeding their young. This particular nest is approximately two meters in diameter and is set high atop a singular rock stack that is separated from the mainland; thereby, making it a true safe-haven for the eagle chicks.

These coastal cliffs represent part of the Shelikof Strait seacoast, which is a rugged, diversified area of narrow-to-wide bays, long and narrow-to-wide beaches, and intricate coves. Steep cliffs rising from the bays are common along the coastline, with rivers cascading down steep canyons and waterfalls plunging onto ocean beaches. Deep blue water, pale bluff pumice, and the green of alder patches and grasslands are typical along this coastline. This coastal nest location not only protects the chicks from mainland predators, but provides a spectacular look-out point for fish in nearby Kukak Bay. The parents will also use the thermal convection currents and high winds of the Shelikof Strait to soar and patrol their nesting territory.

(Photographs by Jim Mahoney, Wildlife Photographer, Associated Press, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA).

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