Grade: Senior
Subject: Science

#668. Eagles and Other Raptors

Science, level: Senior
Posted Tue Oct 13 22:10:41 PDT 1998 by Kari S. Gabriel (
Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell, MT USA
Materials Required: List provided
Activity Time: 3 1 hour class periods
Concepts Taught: Wildlife Rehabilitation

Eagles and Other Raptors
Kari S. Gabriel
October 12, 1998

Intended Audience: Grades 9-12, adjusting detail accordingly

Previous Learning:

Students should already know how to access, search and surf the Internet. They should also have a basic knowledge of a spreadsheet/graphic program such as Power Point or Claris Works, and should have the ability to work together as a team.


To familiarize students with basic facts and behavior of the American Bald Eagle, using a combination of classroom presentation, Video, Internet searching, "hands on" computer activity, and touching of feathers and displays. This lesson will take two or three one-hour class periods.


1. Video presentation (provided by Wildlife Rehab Center)
2. Samples of leg hold traps and fishing nets (provided by Wildlife Rehab Center)
3. Samples of feathers, bones, owl pellets, and other "parts" (provided by Wildlife Rehab Center)
4. Copies of different books on raptors
5. URL list of helpful websites on raptors
6. Handouts with facts about raptors (provided by Wildlife Rehab Center)
7. LCD Projector for student presentations


1. To learn the history of the bald eagle.
2. To learn how bald eagles were brought to the brink of extinction in the late 1960's, and how humans have helped them make a comeback.
3. To learn how humans continue to threaten eagles' lives.
a. Habitat destruction
b. Collisions with cars, buildings and power lines
c. Leg hold traps
d. Fishing nets (baited hooks left on decks of boats)
e. Gun injuries
f. Poisoning
g. Nest site disruption
4. To learn how they can help bald eagles and other raptors survive and flourish.


1. Begin by leading the students to discover and learn the history of the American Bald Eagle and other raptors, using the outline above.

2. Ask a raptor rehabilitation education organization, such as the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center, to visit your classroom with live birds, educational displays, and handouts. A good raptor education coordinator or director should be able to provide:
a. An outline of the presentation
b. a video featuring the rehabilitation facility's on-site education programs
c. numerous handouts outlining the anatomy, feather counts, facts and history of bald eagles and other raptors
d. a feather board display showing the primary, secondary and body feathers
e. a skeletal parts display featuring several types of raptors
f. several live birds for display and educational programming

3. Information on Raptors is readily available on the Internet and in journals and books. Students will spend some time in class searching on the Internet for helpful sites, and will make a presentation to the class on their findings. A reference list is attached at the end of the lesson plan.

Follow Up Activities:

Activity 1
As a reinforcement activity on their own time, ask the students search further to find today's dangers to eagles, and how humans throughout North America are helping to rehabilitate them. They can also search the Internet for websites with information about DDT, and how its use impacted eagle populations. They can visit this website for more information on DDT:

Activity 2
Take students to "Wildlife Return," a local rehabilitation center, to spend a morning or afternoon working with a raptor rehabilitator. Students will help with feeding the birds and with proper sanitation of housing cages.


Each student will collect information from the Internet, books and journals on the bald eagle. They will make a presentation to the rest of the class outlining what they have learned, and how they feel that they could make an impact in helping raptors. For their presentation, they will use Power Point, Claris Works or another graphic (spreadsheets/graphs) program to document their findings.

Students will turn in a list of URL's that they find while searching the Internet.

Students will also be encouraged to volunteer with a wildlife rehabilitator or animal rescue shelter.
Helpful websites:

Helpful books:

Breining, Greg (1994). Return of the Bald Eagle. Montana: Falcon Publishing.

Rue III, Leonard (1993). Birds of Prey. Leicester,England: Magna Books.

Jones, David (1996). Eagles. North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books.

Hendrickson, John (1992). Raptors. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Line, Les & Russell, Franklin (1997). National Audubon Society Book of Wild Birds. New York: Random House.

National Geographic Society (1995). Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.

Fisher, Chris (1997). Birds of the Rocky Mountains. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing.

Jacobs, Shannon (1998). Healers of the Wild. Colorado: Coyote Moon Press.

Ehrlich, Dobkin & Wheye (1988). The Birder's Handbook. New York: Simon & Schuster.

"Bald Eagle," Wildlife Notebook Series. (1989). Utah: Utah Wildlife Resources.

" Eagle's," Wildlife Notebook Series. (1989). Alaska: Alaska Department of Fish & Game