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The Largest Eagles in the World Have Talons Bigger Than Bear Claws

The harpy eagle’s rear talons measure 5 inches in length!



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(TMU— Harpy eagles are the giants of the birds of prey world—not only in size but also in looks—even though they are rarely sighted in the wild.

With large quizzical eyes, a feathered collar framing the face, a full dress of black, grey, and white feathers, and a grey feathered crown to complete the picture, these birds are reminiscent of a high court judge in full robes and wig—ready to pass judgement.

Female eagles are always bigger than their male counterparts. A female harpy eagle weighs in at between 13 to 20 lbs (6-9 kg) while a male typically weighs 9 to 13 lbs (4-6 kg). In comparison, a female bald eagle reaches an average of around 12 lbs (5.5kg). Other than size the male and female harpy are identical in appearance.

The natural habitat of the harpy eagle is the upper canopy of tropical lowland forests stretching from Mexico to Brazil and northern Argentina. Because they hunt in the forests their wingspan is shorter than most other eagles, making it easier for them navigate. Other eagle species usually hunt in large open areas and also fly higher and farther than the Harpy does. Despite the smaller wingspan the harpy eagle remains the biggest existing eagle in the world.

Photo: Clément Jacquard [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Harpy eagles are extremely successful hunters and sit at the top of its food chain. The huge and powerful talons the harpy use to capture prey other eagles would probably not attempt to capture. Larger than those of any other eagle, the harpy’s rear talons measure 5 in (12.7 cm) in length which is actually bigger than Grizzly Bear’s claws! With such power it should come as no surprise that the harpy eagle is at the top of its food chain.

🔥 the Harpy Eagle from NatureIsFuckingLit

Harpy eagles preserve their energy and rarely soar long distances as other eagles do. Their favorite foods are monkeys and sloths, and because they save energy from not flying large distances harpy’s have enough strength to catch animals that weight up to 17 lbs (8 kg). They are silent hunters and patient hunters, sitting on a convenient perch for as long as it takes for a meal to come by for pick up. With flying speeds of up to 50 mph (80 kmh) it’s an easy swoop and catch.

Photo: CIvo Kruusamägi [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These days harpy eagles are becoming very rare to sight across Latin America as rain forest deforestation continues to shrink their natural habitat. Harpy eagles like many birds are monogamous and raise only one eaglet every two years, making it all the more difficult for the population to recover in the event of a decline in population.

Harpy’s perform a vitally important function to keep the ecosystem healthy. The large birds help keep the population of capuchin monkeys in check. Capuchins are likely to cause the extinction of some birds thanks to their tendency to steal and eat the eggs from nests.

Harpy Eagle Claw

All is not lost for the harpy eagles. Thanks to The Peregrine Fund, a group that has been working tirelessly for 20 years to create awareness and save these magnificent eagles and their habitat.

Although harpy eagles maintain healthy populations in South America, the outlook is troubling in Central America, where in most countries they are listed as Critically Endangered. New roads, slash-and-burn farming, and forest fires threaten to destroy intact rain forests that are crucial to their survival.

To join The Peregrine Fund in the fight to save the harpy and other raptors, visit their website for more information.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons |

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida



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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son



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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years



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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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