The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent.
On the backs of our gold coins, the silver dollar, the half dollar and the quarter, we see an eagle with outspread wings.
On the Great Seal of the United States and in many places which are exponents of our nation's authority we see the same emblem.
The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of lofty mountains, amid the solitary grandeur of Nature, he has unlimited freedom, whether with strong pinions he sweeps into the valleys below, or upward into the boundless spaces beyond.
It is said the eagle was used as a national emblem because, at one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. "They are shrieking for Freedom," said the patriots.
Thus the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future.
--Maude M. Grant
The Eagle became the National emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted. The Great Seal shows a wide-spread eagle, faced front, having on his breast a shield with thirteen perpendicular red and white stripes, surmounted by a blue field with the same number of stars. In his right talon the eagle holds an olive branch, in his left a bundle of thirteen arrows, and in his beak he carries a scroll inscribed with the motto: "E Pluribus Unum." The Eagle appears in the Seals of many of our States, on most of our gold and silver coinage, and is used a great deal for decorative patriotic purposes.
At the Second Continental Congress, after the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence from Great Britain, the colonies determined they needed an official seal. So Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson as a committee prepared a device for a Seal of the United States of America. However, the only portion of the design accepted by the congress was the statement E pluribus unum, attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
Six years and two committees later, in May of 1782, the brother of a Philadelphia naturalist provided a drawing showing an eagle displayed as the symbol of "supreme power and authority."Congress liked the drawing, so before the end of 1782, an eagle holding a bundle of arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other was accepted as the seal. The image was completed with a shield of red and white stripes covering the breast of the bird; a crest above the eagle's head, with a cluster of thirteen stars surrounded by bright rays going out to a ring of clouds; and a banner, held by the eagle in its bill, bearing the words E pluribus unum. Yet it was not until 1787 that the American bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States. This happened only after many states had already used the eagle in their coat of arms, as New York State did in 1778. Though the official seal has undergone some modifications in the last two hundred years, the basic design is the same.
While the eagle has been officially recognized as America's national bird, there have been dissenters who feel the bird was the wrong choice.
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I chose the American bald eagle because it is one of the
fastest and strongest species of eagles. It is the national
symbol. The Congress adopted it as the national symbol in
1782. I think it was adopted as the national bird of the
United States because the Roman soldiers used the eagle
as a symbol of courage and power. In the early 1800's,
Americans called the Bald Eagle, the American eagle. Here
is some of the biology of the Bald Eagle. Bald Eagles do a
very good job at their part in the food web. Bald eagles
also have an interesting name. The scientific name for bald
eagles is Haliaeetus leucocephalus. The family order is
accipitridae and falconiformes. The young of bald eagles
are called eaglets or eyasses. Bald eagles are
warm-blooded and breathe oxygen from the air. A female
will lay 1 to 3 eggs every five years, with at least 1hatching.
Although all Bald Eagles are consumers, none of them eat
plants to get their chemical energy. Some birds in the eagle
community are African fish eagle, Stellerís sea eagle,
white-bellied sea eagle and the palm-nut vulture. Bald
eagles, out of all eagles are carnivores; they eat fish, there is
no such thing as a herbivore or even an omnivore Eagle.
The young of a bald eagle are fully fledged (just like their
parents and ready to live in the world) at about the age of 4
months. After hatching, newborn eagles are all white and
blind. Male bald eagles generally measure 3 feet from the
end of the beak to the tip of the tail, weighing about 7 to 10
pounds, and having a wing span of 6 feet. Females, some
larger, reach about 14 pounds and have a wingspan of 8
feet. Bald eagles live only in the United States and Mexico.
Bald eagles will only live near lakes and rivers. A bald
eagle's nest is about 70 feet above the ground in tall pines
or deciduous trees. Nests are almost 7 feet wide and five
feet deep. The territory of a Bald Eagle has a carrying
capacity of 10 to 40 square miles, per eagle. Eagles will
live in cold, warm and light temperatures. Bald eagles will
eat just about anything; they have a large range in their
predator/prey role. An eagle's diet consists of fish, rodents,
small snakes, and small game birds. It will also steal food
from other species of small birds or other eagles, including
its own kind! Sometimes it will even kill a bird to get food.
It will also eat carrion, food that was already killed, which
means it is sometimes a decomposer. Bald eagles have
interesting ways of protecting themselves. Bald eagles have
oil inside of their feathers to protect themselves from rain or
snow. Bald eagles also have special feathers that will
insulate them in the winter. A female eagle will outstretch its
wings over the young to form a portable shelter. Once,
several students went up to the Quabbin Reservoir, found
an active eagles nest, tore it apart and found 60 cat collars.
Bald eagles were at homeostasis until they were put on the
endangered species list from the 1950s up until the early
1980's. Ever since, federal law has protected bald eagles
and whoever kills or tries to kill one will suffer a $500 fine
and a year in jail. There are many biotic and abiotic factors
in an eagles environment, but none compare to there love
for salmon, and there passion for high altitude; whether it
be them soaring and 10,000 feet, or them sitting in their
nest on the top of an incredibly steep cliff.
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