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

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:

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

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.

  1. Willa Garner says

    2 summers’ ago I was fortunate to watch a pair of bald eagles refurbish their nest and raise their young. there were 2 chicks but 1 didn’t survive. I understand that frequently the first born predates the younger. 1 chick fledged and you’d see the parents and the fledgling sitting on separate branches of a snag. By December of that year the fledgling was gone, by April one of the parents was gone. I still see the one remaining parent every now and again sitting in that snag by the stream looking for fish. I think (but no proof) one of the farmers nearby shot the two for predation of their ducks or their farm cats that wandered into the fields. We had a bad winter and food was scarce for the birds. Many people stopped by the roadside to watch the eagles perform their parental duties all summer long. It was quite a thrill for me also. I am so sad that the 2 didn’t survive to soar the skies. The nest is now slowly falling apart.

  2. Virgie Ale says

    Alaska has several sites near
    salmon spawning areas where a dozen or more at all stages of maturity.

  3. Jessica Britton says

    Wow I had no idea that those were facts about them. They are such cool creatures and I’m glad that they aren’t endangered anymore.

  4. Deb Wilkinson says

    I love to watch the Eagles in Decorah Iowa.

    It is so neat to watch the hole process from nesting to Fledging

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