The bald eagle is a majestic and powerful creature, and one that is exclusive to North America. Also know as Haliaeetus Leucocephalus, this bird can be found throughout the majority of the continental United States. Around half of the world’s total bald eagle population is to be found in Alaska, where you will find around 75,000 of these birds. The bald eagle’s scientific name of Haliaeetus Leucocephalus means ‘sea’ (halos) ‘eagle’ (aetos) with ‘white’ (leukos) ‘head’ (kephale). They are called ‘bald’ eagles, because the word bald once meant white rather than hairless.
The bald eagle is a bird that likes isolated habitats – places where there are clear waters, huge trees, plenty of fish and other aquatic animals, and as little disturbance as possible. Unfortunately, due to the lack of such places, bald eagles and their survival have really suffered, often at the hands of man. The beautiful bald eagle was even once listed as threatened. In the eighteenth century, there were nearly half a million bald eagles to be found. However, these numbers began to plummet, and due to the bird’s near extinction it was put on the endangered list. However, this fall in numbers was turned around, and recently the bird was removed from the list of threatened species. As of May 15th, 2004, it was officially announced by the Bush Government that the bald eagle would be taken off the threatened species list as their numbers have increased from about 450 pairs in 1963 to approximately 7678 pairs currently in the United States.
The bald eagle is a powerful, magnificent and majestic bird. It can weigh up to fourteen pounds and attain a height of 3 to 3 ½ feet. The bald eagle has a typical and huge wing span of six to eight feet. In most instances, the female of the species is larger than the male. Also, those bald eagles living in the north are believed to be larger than ones in the south. The bald eagle can live up to 30 years in the wild and can survive for even longer in captivity.
Another name for the bald eagle is the American Eagle. This is because the bald eagle is truly an all-American bird and is the only eagle which is exclusive to North America. The Second Continental Congress, in 1782, officially declared the bald eagle as the National Emblem of the United States. It was chosen because of its exclusivity to North America. The bald eagle is a scavenger bird of prey, which kills other animals for food. This was thought to be a terrible ethical characteristic and hence Benjamin Franklin was in the favor of choosing the turkey as USA’s national symbol. But it was not to be and the bald eagle was selected because of its spirit of freedom and liberty.
The majestic image of the bald eagle today appears on American coins, such as the silver dollar, half dollar, gold coins, and quarters. It also appears in all its glory on the Great Seal of the United States and various other places of national and historical importance.
The bald eagle enjoys a special honor as the national bird and symbol of USA owing to its sheer size, long life, powerful strength, spirit of freedom, magnificent looks, and its exclusivity to North America.
The bald eagle is classed as a raptor, which is a bird of prey. This means that it is a flesh eating bird that kills other animals for food. The bald eagle has three major qualities, which make it a raptor. These are its sharp, curved beak; its strong feet and sharp talons; and its keen vision. A bald eagle is a diurnal raptor (others include hawks, kites, and falcons) as it hunts for food in the daytime unlike nocturnal raptors, which mainly hunt in the night (e.g. owls). Being a raptor, the bald eagle is known to mate for life with the same partner. However, if its mate dies, then it usually finds another one.