January 17-18, 2009 are listed as Bald Eagle Appreciation Days. Have you appreciated a bald eagle today? If I had to pick one bird, I would say the bald eagle is my favorite. Before we moved from California, the only time we saw bald eagles was when we traveled north to places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Now it's common for us to see them driving into town just to go to the grocery store or drop off the trash. The thrill is still there and I never get tired of seeing them. Photographing them is challenging, but fun.
Bald eagles are majestic birds. They're elegant and graceful in flight. It's no wonder they were chosen as the national bird and emblem for the United States. Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our national bird because of the eagle's bad reputation. It's amazing to watch a bald eagle swoop from the sky and pull a fish out of a lake or river. They are scavengers and are often are seen stealing food from other animals. One of the biggest cause of death to bald eagles where I live is being hit by cars, as the eagles eat from deer carcasses on the side of the road. Bald eagles are huge birds with wingspans of 6 feet. They're nests are huge too. A nest is typically 5 feet in diameter, but can grow over the years as the returning eagles build onto it. Some nests can get up to 10 feet and weigh 2000 pounds. They can fly at 10,000 feet and reach speeds of 35mph at level flight.
I am fortunate to be able to view these amazing birds year round where I live. It's cool to walk outside my house and hear the shriek of a bald eagle flying overhead. If you'd like to learn more about them, check out the American Bald Eagle Information website. It's packed full of interesting information. The bald eagle represents freedom and I can't think of a better bird to appreciate, especially in the times we're living today.