The Bald Eagle

Congress chose the American Bald Eagle to be our national bird in 1784. Benjamin Franklin thought that the wild turkey would be a better symbol because it was a much more respectable bird. The other members of Congress did not agree with Mr. Franklin. Congress voted for the Bald Eagle.

The bald eagle has always been a symbol of strength, skill, and bravery. The bald eagle is

not really bald at all. It only looks bald because the feathers on its head are white. The rest of its feathers are dark. From a distance it looks as if it doesn’t have any color on its head. This makes its head seem bald. This large, powerful bird has excellent eyesight. It can see an object two miles away and fly straight to it.

The Bald Eagle was on the endangered list for many years because of insecticides used to kill unwanted insects. These chemicals also harmed the bald eagles. The bald eagle population has slowly recovered. This bird was taken off the endangered list in 1995.

Today the Bald Eagle is on two coins, the quarter and the half dollar. It is also on the President’s flag and on army and navy uniforms.


Student Activity

Now that you know about our national bird, you need to find out about the state bird, animal, and flower in the state where you live. Ask your teacher where you could find information about your state symbols. Then you can draw a picture of each symbol and write a caption for your picture. You might want to work in a group of students.

Documents of Our Freedom
Symbols of Our Freedom
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