Celebrating the 4th of July with Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles are our national bird, and I always think about them a lot on the 4th of July.

Rob Ripma
I found this Bald Eagle on a nest in western Indiana several years ago.

I found this Bald Eagle on a nest in western Indiana several years ago.

Bald Eagles are one of the most well-recognized and loved species in the United States. Everyone from little kids to grandparents know that the eagle is our national bird and get very excited whenever they have the chance to observe one! In honor of the 4th of July holiday, here are some fun facts about Bald Eagles:

1. The Bald Eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States on June 20, 1782. Benjamin Franklin actually opposed this selection and instead wanted the Wild Turkey to our national emblem.

2. Male and female Bald Eagles look the same at any age, but females are larger than the males. It also takes Bald Eagles about 5 years to attain their full adult plumage of a white head and tail.

3. The oldest Bald Eagle ever recorded in the wild lived to be 28 years old.

4. Bald Eagles became rare in the mid to late 1900s mainly due to the use of DDT in the United States and were placed on the endangered species list in 1978. Once DDT was banned and the Bald Eagle was granted other protections, their numbers increased greatly. Bald Eagles can now be found again in all 50 states as well as in Canada and Mexico.

5. Bald Eagles can weigh up to ~14 pounds and have a wingspan of up to ~7.5 feet!

This Bald Eagle was hunting for waterfowl during the winter months at Goose Pond FWA in Indiana.

This Bald Eagle was hunting for waterfowl during the winter months at Goose Pond FWA in Indiana.

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