Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Bald Eagle

In July we think of the fourth of July and the symbol of our country, the bald eagle. We think of strength, dignity and freedom when we see the eagle. The eagle is honored by American Indians and the Pueblo people believed that eagles were related to the Sun because they were able to soar high into the sky and disappear from sight. The dignified image of the bald eagle comes partly from its coloration-a pure white head and tail contrasted with a dark brown body. 
 If the bald eagle has feathers on its head, then why is it called bald? The name comes from an Old English word, "balde," which means "white." It was natural to call this pure white-headed bird the bald eagle. Their large size and fierce look in their eyes give eagles the appearance of strength.. The bald eagle has a wingspan of seven to eight feet. 
 Eagles are "birds of prey," which means they eat meat. Fish is the favorite food of eagles. They eat many animals besides fish, including geese, ducks, rabbits, turtles and other animals. They also eat carrion- the decaying flesh of dead animals and this is especially important in winter when other foods are usually not easily found. 
 Eagles lay one to three eggs in early spring in a very large nest which they make of sticks. Most nests are as big as your bed. Eagles that survive the difficult first years of life can live to be forty years old. 
 Bald eagles are found only in North America. Recently the bald eagle was removed from it's classification as an endangered species. This was a wonderful success for conservation. We still do have a federal law, the Bald Eagle Protecion Act, to protect this beautiful and important symbol of our country. 

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