The Founding Fathers wanted to choose an animal that was unique to the United States. For six years, the members of Congress engaged in a dispute over what the national emblem should be. As a result of the debate, the bald eagle was chosen because it symbolized strength, courage, freedom, and immortality.
Here's what you may not know about the bald eagle:
- The bald eagle was made the national bird of the United States in 1782.
- The image of the bald eagle can be found in many places in the U.S., such as on the Great Seal, Federal agency seals, the President's flag, and on the one-dollar bill.
- The bald eagle is a large, powerful, brown bird with a white head and tail.
- The term "bald" does not mean that this bird lacks feathers. Instead, it comes from the word piebald, an old word, meaning "marked with white."
- It took 40 years, but bald eagles were removed in 2007 from the list of threatened species in the United States.
- Today there are nearly 10,000 bald eagles in the country, compared to a documented 417 in 1963 when the bird was on the verge of extinction.
- Bald eagles can swim
- Most of them live in Florida