Eagles in Abilene? Of course.

Sparky watches zoo visitors watching him Thursday at the Abilene Zoo, with his buddy, Leu, to his right, staying more out of sight. The bald eagles arrived in May; both are adolescents.

Sparky seems to enjoy the attention. Leu stays in the shadows.

The Abilene Zoo last month added two adolescent bald eagles, haliaeetus leucocephalus, officially.

Both are rescued and, due to injury, limited in their flying.

They join the Eagles who roost at Abilene High and Texas Leadership Charter Academy.

Bald eagles, the majestic bird of the United States and pictured on the "tails" side of quarters, once were on the endangered species list. In August 2007, they were removed due to increasing populations but they still are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection acts.

Sparky's talons, not something that a small critter in the wild would not want to encounter.

Should Sparky and Leu grow up in the city's zoo, each eventually will show the white feathers for which bald eagles are famous..

Those visiting the pair are asked to speak quietly and avoid sudden movements. The birds are keenly aware of their surrounding; bald eagles have excellent eyesight that can locate small prey at a distance. In the wild, they can fly 20-40 mph, and dive at speeds of close to 100 mph.

That will not happen in their enclosures here, but we can enjoy their maturity.

Sparky striking a majestic pose. His pure white features will begin to show in a few years, and be fully seen between the age of 5 and 7 years.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Eagles in Abilene? Of course.