In 1782 the Bald Eagle was selected as the National Bird of the United States. At that time this raptor was very common throughout America. But things changed.
During the 1960 the population of Bald Eagles in the US had dropped to approximately 450 nesting pairs. At one point in Alaska they offered 50 cents as a bounty for each American Eagle and this resulted in the deaths of around 150,000 eagles. Bald Eagles went from endangered to threatened status in 1995, and were delisted altogether in 2007. But even today eagles are still covered by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. These birds are still quite fragile so be respectful and turn in anyone you see who is hunting them.
It is currently against the law to hunt eagles or even to possess their feathers, unless you are a registered Native American. The Native Americans are exempted from the feathers restriction because they use the feathers in their religious ceremonies.
Eagles build nests called aeries in tree tops. Many times the eagles will return to the same nest the each following year and will add on to the nest with more sticks. One eagles nest in Florida eventually reached 4,000 lbs and was 20 feet high and 9 feet wide.
Have You Ever Seen or Photographed an American Eagle?
MBC, Every time I see bald eagles I think of Benjamin Franklin's preferences for wild turkeys as avian symbols of the USA! Just yesterday when I was out wildlife mapping, I saw two bald eagles perched in the top thirds of sycamore trees and then two wild turkeys foraging in a nature area nearby.
Isn't it interesting the number of raptors and songbirds that look at a nest as something to come back to and enlarge, or not?
As always your photos are stunning. I know that eagles repair and reuse their nests, but 20 feet by 9 feet and 4,000 pounds!! Wow! Great Horned Owls also reuse their nests, I've been watching a nest that's been there for 3 years that I know of. Thanks for a lovely article.