Dr. Benjamin Wiseman is a retired anesthesiologist and pain management specialist with 25 years of experience. A member of the Waco, Texas, chapter of the Audubon Society, Dr. Benjamin Wiseman takes part in McLennan County’s yearly bird population count.
For more than 100 years, the Audubon Society has pursued its mission to “conserve and restore natural ecosystems” for birds and other wildlife. The organization’s website offers a list of more than 70 types of birds identified as “priority,” 18 of which belong to a watchlist of significantly endangered species.
One such bird is the well-known bald eagle, the elegant national emblem of the United States. Earlier in the 1900s, the bald eagle’s numbers declined drastically, and though its population has been improving since the 1970s, the birds are still classified as endangered.
Bald eagles often do not reproduce until their third or fourth year, at which time they may choose a lifetime mate. The couple builds their nest high in a tree, on a cliff side, or on the ground in less-populated regions such as northern islands. Some eagles will maintain the same nest over the years, ever increasing its size with additional sticks and twigs.
Female bald eagles lay two eggs on average, which are warmed and protected by both parents throughout the 36-day incubation period. Once the eggs have hatched, the eaglets are guarded around the clock by mother or father for a couple of weeks and finally learn to fly at about three months old.