Early drawing of the United States national bird
Early drawing of the United States national bird
 
 
A bald eagle in flight
A bald eagle in flight
 
 
Eagle design used by the FBI
Eagle design used by the FBI
 
 
One dollar coin showing the American eagle
One dollar coin showing the American eagle
 
 
The bald eagle is part of the U.S. Army's coat of arms
The bald eagle is part of the U.S. Army's coat of arms
 
 
Courage and strength
Courage and strength
 
 
Close-up of a bald eagle's face
Close-up of a bald eagle's face
 
American Eagle
Topic(s):   American Symbols
Quick Facts
City New York City, New York
Country United States
Year(s) built 1787
Designed by Continental Congress
Purpose represents strength, courage, freedom

In 1776, the Continental Congress was not looking for a national bird. They just wanted a design for the Great Seal. It took six years to decide on a design. When they did, there was a bald eagle on it. After that, Congress thought the eagle might make a good national bird.

There is a story that bald eagles were disturbed at one of the early battles of the Revolution. They flew over the battle shrieking. The Americans said the birds were crying out for freedom. That may be why the bald eagle was chosen.

Some people said that the bald eagle was not a good choice. It steals food from other birds. It eats dead things. Ben Franklin was not happy about the choice. He said the wild turkey was better. He may have been exaggerating.

The eagle was chosen as the official bird in 1787. It was chosen because it only lives in North America. It is very big and strong. Some states were already using it as their symbols.

The National Emblem Act of 1940 protects the bald eagle. It is illegal to collect the birds or their nests, eggs, or feathers. The bald eagle used to be on the Endangered Species list, too. It was taken off the list in 2007.

The bald eagle is on the Presidentís flag. It is on several coins and the one dollar bill. The eagle is often used in patriotic pictures.

Resource information

Chupatz, Eileen. (July 28, 2010). Why Is the Bald Eagle an American Symbol? Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_6790855_bald-eagle-american-symbol_.html

Bluepage.org. (2007). Bald Eagle as USAís National Symbol. Retrieved from http://www.bluepage.org/bald-eagles/bald-eagle-as-the-usa-national-symbol.html

Home of Heroes. (1999-2011). The Bald Eagle: Symbol of the United States. Retrieved from http://www.homeofheroes.com/hallofheroes/1st_floor/flag/1bfc_eagle.html

Rutledge, Hope. (2011). The Bald Eagle--An American Emblem. Retrieved from http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle9.html

U.S. Government Printing Office. (April 17, 2009). Symbols of U.S. Government: The Bald Eagle. Retrieved from http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/symbols/eagle.html

Citation information

APA Style:† † † † American Eagle. (2013, July). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style: † † † "American Eagle." Facts4Me. Jul. 2013. http://www.facts4me.com.

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