Bald EaglePhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Majestic Hunters

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are the quintessential North American bird of prey. Their distinctive heads grace paintings, television, and even currency. That’s because they are the national bird of the United States of America. On Jun 20, 1782, the  Continental Congress adopted the current design for the Great Seal of the United States. On it, a bald eagle grasps thirteen arrows and a thirteen-leaf olive branch with its talons.

Photographers the world over strive to capture the essence of this eagle. Strong and powerful, this bird evokes long-forgotten memories of life on the wild frontier.

This bird ranges most of Alaska and Canada, as well as all of the contiguous United States. It hunts near large bodies of open water and nests in old-growth trees. About half of the world’s 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska. There, they flourish in part because of a copious supply of salmon. Dead or dying fish are an important source of food for all bald eagles.

This eagle’s plumage is evenly brown and white. Males and females share identical plumage coloration, however females are 25 percent larger. Both sexes share bright yellow beaks, feet, and irises. Immature bald eagles display brown plumage speckled with white. The size of the bird varies by location; the smallest specimens are those from Florida, with the largest are in Alaska.

Until 1995, the bald eagle was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. However, in July of 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the status of bald eagles to “threatened.” On June 28, 2007, the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the Endangered Species List entirely, making this bird a success story in species repopulation.

Today, the American Eagle soars throughout the country, bringing wonder and awe, as well as a sense of the majesty of nature.

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