George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle is America’s national bird and a symbol of freedom. In 1782, Charles Thomson designed the Great Seal of the United States by combining the ideas of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams into one seal. The design, which featured a prominent bald eagle, was accepted on June 20, 1782. Since then, the bald eagle has not only appeared on every American seal but on currency as well.

“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.”—John F. Kennedy

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.”—Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter

Benjamin Franklin actually disapproved of the bald eagle as the national bird, instead suggesting the turkey.

The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America.

Bald eagles mate for life (up to 30 years) and use the same nest for years on end.