The bald eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782, when it was adopted as a symbol of freedom and its imagery was incorporated into the Great Seal. Its symbolic status helped people rally around it when it faced extinction in the mid twentieth century due to human encroachment and the pesticide DDT. In recent years, the bald eagle population has recovered, and it was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.
Similar to the role of national bird, Senator Mike Enzi (R) of Wyoming and Senator Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakota introduced a bill that would recognize the bison as America’s national mammal. Vast herds of American bison once roamed from Canada to Mexico. From a population that numbered in the millions, American bison dwindled to near extinction by the 1880s, driven there by American settlers.
Today, bison populations have started to recover. There are about half a million bison living today. However most of the bison live in commercial herds and carry genes from cattle. Only a few thousand bison are pure descendants of the vast herds that dominated the Great Plains centuries ago.
To urge your senator to co-sponsor the National Bison Legacy Act, which will help preserve this great species and honor it for its significant role in American history, visit Vote Bison and sign the petition.
To learn more about bison, see Animal Fact Guide’s article, American Bison.
Three of the eagles were famous because a webcam had been tracking their daily activities in their nest at a botanical garden. However, when their mother was killed after being struck by an airplane in April, webcam viewers became concerned for the chicks and alerted the wildlife rescuers. So the Wildlife Center of Virginia took the chicks into their care.
The other two eaglets were rescued independently; one was found in a landfill with its wing caught in some netting, and the other was found in a field in an emaciated condition.
For more information about the eagles’ release, see:
The Philadeplia Zoo recently welcomed an eaglet. While the eaglet’s parents are unable to live in the wild, their baby will not be raised in the confines of the zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo and the Pennsylvania Game Commission worked together to bring the eaglet out of the zoo and back into the wild. The baby was placed in a nest with two other eaglets in an undisclosed location north of Philadelphia. This is the second time the zoo and game commission have placed a captive born eaglet in the wild.
Thousands of people have been watching Hancock Wildlife Foundation‘s live streaming video footage of a bald eagle’s nest on Vancouver Island, Canada to try to catch a glimpse of three eaglets hatching. The mother laid the eggs in early March. As the gestation period of a bald eagle is around 35-40 days, the eaglets are expected to hatch this week.
Stephen Colbert Jr., the most famous bald eagle in the world (named for the star of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report), was caught on camera recently in Klamath Falls, Oregon by Jack Noller.
The eagle, now 2.5 years old, was the result of a breeding program at the San Francisco Zoo in California. Tagged A-46, Stephen Jr. has been recorded flying up from California to Canada and back down south.