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Special – 1978 – Sports Afield – The American Bald Eagle


The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America….which is a sea eagle that has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle….whose range includes most of Canada and Alaska….all of the contiguous United States….and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.    

The bald eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish….which swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons….while it builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species….having been measured up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide, and 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) in weight.  Sexual maturity for this majestic bird is attained at the age of four to five years.     

Bald eagles are not actually bald….as their name is derived from an older meaning of the word “white headed”. The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail….while the sexes are identical in plumage ….but females are about 25 percent larger than males….with a beak that is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown.    

The bald eagle is both the national bird and national animal of the United States of America….as the bald eagle appears on its seal.  In the late 20th century it was on the brink of extinction in the contiguous United States….but populations have recovered due to programs like this Sports Afield special….and the species was removed from the U.S. government’s list of endangered species on July 12, 1995…as it was  transferred to the list of threatened species….and removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007. 

This Sports Afield feature provides one of the best video explanations and demonstrations of the American bald eagle….as every viewer will understand why folks in the USA have such high respect and honor for this beautiful and powerful bird.

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