Eagles are awe-inspiring creatures known for majestically soaring across the sky. To do so, they must have bodies that can be both very light and very strong. For example, the average bald eagle weighs only 9 pounds, but is extremely powerful and capable of lifting heavy prey into the air during flight. This is partially because the largest part of any eagle is typically their feather-covered wings. These wing feathers can be very study while still weighing next to nothing. While a bald eagle has wings that are almost 8 feet long, its wings still weigh less than 2 pounds.

An eagle’s feathers are held together by hundreds of thousands of microscopic hooks that allow it to flap its wings hard enough for flight without being too heavy. Having feathers that can stick together also help eagles control their flight speed. When an eagle wants to fly quickly, it will turn the front edges of its wing into the wind so they cut through the air and meet less resistance. If an eagle is trying to slow down in order to land, it will “drag” the widest parts of its wings into the wind for greater resistance.

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