Big and bold--the bald eagle.
Soaring high overhead, or flying low over treetops, this large bird is easy to recognize. With a white head and tail, and larger than most other birds, it can only be the bald eagle. It dwarfs most other raptors, or birds of prey, in size. The bright yellow legs and bills also are a distinctive feature of this eagle. They aren't really bald, but their white heads gleam in contrast to their brown bodies and wings.
They usually are alone, but sometimes gather in groups where the fishing is good. Bald eagles will steal prey from smaller birds. One day I watched a bald eagle follow a small falcon that had caught a smaller bird. The eagle just kept flying after the falcon, and, eventually, the falcon dropped its prey. The eagle then dropped to the ground and ate the prey. Almost all other birds will give way to the larger and more aggressive bald eagle.
Most of their diet consists of fish, but they also feed on waterfowl and mammals they have captured or scavenged. They are a very agile hunter and will hunt from the air or a perch or tree limb.
Unique to North America, bald eagles can be found near lakes, rivers, and coasts. Endangered at one time due to the use of pesticides, they have bounded back and are now protected. People are not allowed to hunt and shoot these birds.
The best place to find the bald eagle is in Alaska. They are also found in many areas of Canada and the United States, including Arizona and Florida.
The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1792. It is the most pictured bird in all of America and appears in many places, like military insignia and one-dollar bills. They have been seen as symbols of strength, freedom, and courage for many generations.
It is fun to watch this beautiful eagle soaring through the air, searching the ground below, looking for prey. I hope you get to see one soon!