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In light of all the July 4th celebrations, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the most American of all American birds: the bald eagle. Since becoming the official animal of the U.S. in 1782, the bald eagle has become a symbol of all things USA. These animals are one of the largest birds of prey in North America, capable of catching large fish prey and (sort of) swimming with it to shore. They are also capable of constructing massive nests-the largest one on record was 9.5 feet (3 m) wide and 20 feet (6 m) high-wow. These birds have also made a resounding comeback from the brink of extinction. Today, there are some 9,789 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the contiguous U.S.
Bald Eagles: Facts About American Mascot (Live Science)
"Bald eagles are large birds of prey native to North America. Since 1782, the bald eagle has been the United States' national emblem and mascot."
Eagle vs. Turkey: America's First Bird Controversy (National Wildlife Foundation)
"Nations often adopt animals as symbols: England has its lion, India its peacock. On the afternoon of July 4, 1776, just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress appointed a committee made up of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin to select a design for an official national seal."
Bald Eagle Fact Sheet: Natural History, Ecology, and History of Recovery (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
"Distinguished by a white head and white tail feathers, bald eagles are powerful, brown birds that may weigh 14 pounds and have a wingspan of 8 feet. Male eagles are smaller, weighing as much as 10 pounds and have a wingspan of 6 feet."