When it comes to holidays, January is all about appreciation. Not only do we appreciate the chance to ring in a New Year, but we also get to appreciate Appreciate a Dragon Day, Gun Appreciation Day, Squirrel Appreciation Day and Beer Can Appreciation Day. And January 26 is another day that celebrates one of the world's most magnificent creatures - it's Bald Eagle Appreciation Day.
America's Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, became America's national bird in 1782. These amazing birds of prey live in North America along rivers, lakes and coastlines and consume fish, small mammals, turtles and waterfowl. While their eyes are about the same size as humans, their eyesight is at least four times better than someone with perfect vision!
With a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet and standing about 3 feet tall, adult females weigh from 10 to 14 pounds compared to male eagles that weigh in at about 8 to 9 pounds. Bald Eagles can live up to 30 years but the average lifespan is 15 to 20 years.
Bald Eagles mate for life. They build a very large nest, called an aerie, which measures abut 4 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep. The birds return to the same nest year after year. During the winter months, millions of people "flock" to various areas of the United States to watch these magnificent creatures in action.
Like many other species, eagles have faced serious threats over the years. Besides habitat destruction and the pesticide DDT, birds also suffered from lead poisoning from lead ammunition which is still an issue today. Once listed on the Endangered Species List , the bird is still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
Decorah EagleCam Provides Bird's-eye View for Bird Watchers
The Raptor Resource Project (RRP) has been specializing in the preservation of birds of prey since its inception in 1988. The RRP's Decorah EagleCam provides a live, up-close-and-personal birds-eye view to curious bird watchers all over the world. Watch as a mother and father eagle care for their baby eaglets as cameras capture every moment live. Currently, mom and dad are back at the tree and visiting the original nest. The EagleCam, located in Decorah, Iowa, is touted as the "most-watched live stream ever."
Note – Young children may be disturbed by the images of dead prey brought into the nest.
In honor of Bald Eagle Appreciation Day, why not gather up your "flock" and do a little bird watching this weekend? And speaking of appreciation, January 26 is also Spouses Day.