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Text for translation into English


Text 2

Retell one of the texts.

Read the texts using your dictionary.

Answer the questions to Text 1.

1. Give the definition of species.

2. How do they move?

3. What can you tell about birds` behaviour?

4. What kinds of calls do birds use?

5. What are the nests made of?

6. What do you know about incubation and brooding?

Because of the eagle's majestic appearance and power of flight, it has been called the “king of birds.” Since ancient times it has been a symbol of strength and courage. The Sumerians chose the “spread eagle” as their emblem of power 5,000 years ago. So did imperial Rome many centuries later.

The American bald eagle was chosen by Congress in 1782 as the emblem of the United States. On the national seal the bird is shown with its wings spread, holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. On coins, military insignia, and other devices, the eagle appears in a variety of postures.

Only two species of eagles are found in North America—the bald and the golden. The more common bald eagle has white tail feathers and white plumes on the head and neck. Early colonists, used to the gray sea eagle of Europe, called these birds “bald-headed.” (Bald originally meant “white.”) The female is fiercer than the male and is several inches larger. A sea eagle, the bald eagle migrates only if the body of water that it normally fishes freezes. It returns each year to the same nest, called an aerie, with the same mate. The golden eagle, a magnificent bird, is more common in the Old World than in the New, but it is found in the western part of North America from Mexico to Alaska. It is somewhat larger than the bald eagle, and its plumage is darker except for tawny feathers on its head and neck that shimmer like gold. The bald eagle has bare “ankles,” whereas the legs of the golden eagle are feathered to the toes. The golden eagle builds its huge nest on a high mountain crag.

Eagles are birds of prey, related to vultures, hawks, and falcons .

All eagles are renowned for their excellent eyesight, and the bald eagle is no exception. They have two foveae or centers of focus, that allow the birds to see both forward and to the side at the same time. Bald eagles are capable of seeing fish in the water from several hundred feet above, while soaring, gliding or in flapping flight. This is quite an extraordinary feat, since most fish are counter-shaded, meaning they are darker on top and thus harder to see from above. Fishermen can confirm how difficult it is to see a fish just beneath the surface of the water from only a short distance away.

Young bald eagles have been known to make mistakes, such as attacking objects like plastic bottles floating on or just below the surface of the water. Bald eagles will locate and catch dead fish much more rapidly and efficiently than live fish, because dead fish float with their light underside up, making them easier to see.

Eagles have eyelids that close during sleep. For blinking, they also have an inner eyelid called a nictitating membrane. Every three or four seconds, the nictitating membrane slides across the eye from front to back, wiping dirt and dust from the cornea. Because the membrane is translucent, the eagle can see even while it is over the eye.

Eagles, like all birds, have color vision. An eagle's eye is almost as large as a human's, but its sharpness is at least four times that of a person with perfect vision. The eagle can probably identify a rabbit moving almost a mile away. That means that an eagle flying at an altitude of 1000 feet over open country could spot prey over an area of almost 3 square miles from a fixed position.

Eagles are not distinguished for their hearing, but this does not mean that they have poor hearing. Diurnal birds of prey like hawks and eagles use their hearing to locate prey or other birds, but the sharpness is not as essential as in some owls, which can locate prey in the dark only by their sound.


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