In 1782 the bald eagle was selected over the turkey to represent our great nation as the national bird. The bald eagle was selected for its regal appearance, its power in flight, and its menacing talons that capture and kill its prey. Bald eagles are raptors, or birds of prey, meaning they catch and kill their food. They will eat a variety of prey items such as rodents and other small mammals, and their favorite food is fish.
With a wingspan reaching 8 feet in length, bald eagles are large birds, and they build the largest nests of any of the eagles, some measuring 8 feet across. Within these nests two white eggs are laid, and hatchling chicks are brown until around 3 years old when they develop their adult coloration.
Not long ago bald eagles were on the endangered species list. The pesticide DDT was getting into their food, impacting their health and the quality of their eggs. With the help of many organizations and individuals, these majestic birds fought their way off the list and are still flying strong today.
Mark Ferguson, educational coordinator, Nashville Zoo