Bald Eagle —Ross Feldner

Our nation’s symbol is the Bald Eagle, which is not really bald; it has white feathers on its head, neck, and tail. The word bald in the eagle’s name comes from a derivation of balde, an Old English word meaning white.

This majestic bird is a diurnal (day) hunter that can swim, fly 20-40 miles per hour in normal flight, and dive at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Eagle nests are very large, often used year after year, adding more twigs and branches each time). One nest found had been used for 34 years and weighed over 2 tons!

The bald eagle belongs to a group of birds known as raptors, or birds of prey that hunt and feed on other animals. They have very sharp vision that allows them to find prey during flight. They also have very strong talons and beaks. Raptors are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem and by protecting them many other species are protected. Like many birds, the Bald Eagle was threatened by the overuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, until Rachel Carson and others exposed this menace and DDT was banned.

Bald Eagle Fun Facts

Bald Eagles can live up to 30 years in the wild and 48 in captivity.

Females are 30% larger than males.

In 1782, the U.S. Congress selected the Bald Eagle as our national symbol because of the bird’s long life, great strength, and majestic looks.

In 1963 only 417 nesting
pairs of bald eagles remained
in the lower 48 states.

The Bald Eagle’s wingspan
is 6.5 to 7 feet.

They feed primarily on fish, but will also feed on ducks, rodents, snakes, and carrion.

Eagles mate for life and return to same nesting territory year after year.

Click here to watch a
Bald Eagle love story.

An Bald Eagle flies to a
veterinary every day. The reason
left everyone in shock.

Click here for a free PDF
of the RCC publication The Bald Eagle Symbol of Our Nation.


Rachel Carson Council
8600 Irvington Avenue  | Bethesda, Maryland 20817-3604
(301) 214-2400 |

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