A portrait of a soaking wet American Bald Eagle during a heavy rain fall near the Kachemak Bay near Homer, Alaska. The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Pygargue a Tete Blanche) is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its 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. Bold and proud in appearance, eagles have symbolized power since ancient times. Like other hawks, they have keen eyesight, hooked beaks, and long, curved talons for seizing prey. The two North American species, the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle, are similar in size, with eight-foot wingspans, but otherwise differ in several ways.
Despite its fierce appearance, the bald eagle is a rather timid hunter. Usually found near water, it feeds mainly on fish, which it often steals from Ospreys. Its nest, or aerie, generally built in tall trees, is enlarged each year after year and may be as much as 9.5 feet wide and 20 feet high. In the 1960's bald eagles were reduced in numbers by DDT but have made a comeback since the pesticide was banned.