The Bald Eagle: A Presidential Fight to Determine the National Bird of the United States

The Bald Eagle can be found from Alaska to the northern border of Mexico and from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. It is the only eagle species that is found exclusively on the North American continent. This unbelievably powerful creature has a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet, can weigh up to 14 pounds and possesses incredibly keen eyesight.

The American Bald Eagle became unofficially recognized as the National bird when the Great Seal of the U.S was adopted in 1782. Many disapproved of the eagle as the National bird however, including Benjamin Franklin! He states, “The bald eagle…is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor and often very lousy”. Mr. Franklin had much kinder words for the turkey saying, “the turkey is a much more respectable bird and withal a true original native of America”.

Those who admired the eagle however, eventually won the debate and the Bald Eagle officially became the United States’ national bird while George Washington became the first U.S President in 1789.

President John F. Kennedy would later write:

“The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation.  The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.”

This amazing creature and symbol of freedom was granted protected status by both the National Emblem Act of 1940, also known as the Bald Eagle Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. Both attempt to keep this rare species safe from those who may attempt to hunt or capture this magnificent creature.

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