Flight of the eagle

The bald eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States of America because of its long life and great strength. This majestic bird represents power and freedom.

An eagle named Freedom : my true story of a remarkable friendship
Jeff Guidry.
[Old Saybrook, Conn.] : Tantor Audio, p2010.
With the emotional intensity of A Lion Named Christian and the charm of Alex & Me, this is the inspiring story of a dedicated man who lovingly nursed a young eaglet with two broken wings back to health---and how this majestic bird later inspired him to triumph over his own life-threatening condition.
Eagles of North America
Candace Savage.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ; New York : Greystone Books, 2000, c1987.
90 stunning, action-packed color photographs from the world's top nature photographers portray the grace and power of eagles -- awe-inspiring birds with vision five times superior to ours, breakneck speed, split-second timing, and striking agility. The pictures include heartwarming closeups of a newborn eaglet's first tentative steps, gripping images of carnivorous adults ravaging their kill, and stunning aerial views of the raptors soaring through the air. An absorbing account of the everyday behavior of these birds of prey.
The American eagle : a photographic portrait
John Pezzenti, Jr.
New York, N.Y. : Viking Studio, 1999.
John Pezzenti, whose Alaska brought us the tenderness and grandeur of America's last wilderness, obsessively seeks out the remotest corners with the most untouched wildlife--and then positions himself and waits patiently for the perfect image. Driven by a daring that defies solitude and danger and fired by a passion to immortalize what is threatened by civilization and technology, Pezzenti produces work of the highest craftsmanship and artistic purpose to be found in nature photography today.The images in The American Eagle capture the magnificent bald eagle as never before--in flight, in battle in the air, hunting, resting, nesting--from the murky Florida Everglades to the sub-zero temperatures of the Appalachian Mountains. They detail the complete lifespan of the bird that since the early days of America, has supremely embodied the bold spirit and soaring beauty of our country. With rare, unforgettable color photographs and a text that tells the struggle for survival of this once-endangered bird, The American Eagle is a gift to awe every nature lover, photographer, or patriot.

Some eagles are permanent residents of their breeding areas. Others 'fly south'. Wintering eagles come to the St. Louis area looking for open waters in which to feed when the land and waters elsewhere have frozen over. Missouri has one of the largest winter migrations of eagles because the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers offer plenty of fish, high cliffs for roosting and an updraft to soar up in the skies.

Eagles have powerful talons for picking up their catch and hooked beaks for tearing the meat from their prey. They also have keen eyesight, five times better than a human, that they can spot a field mouse from some 200 yards away.

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act enacted in 1940, and amended several times since then, prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from "taking" bald eagles, including their parts, nests, or eggs. 

The Protection Act

Their hollowed and thin bones keep their bodies’ lightweight and their organs are at their center of gravity to help keep balanced. The eagle looks for a thermal of warm wind or an updraft to hitch a ride up to the sky.

Once it's in the air, the body is ever so still; it uses the special features of its wings. As it angles its wings to positioning its feather tips to spreading the tail, we get to see one of the most spectacular sights in the sky, an eagle in flight.

So dress warmly, gather your friends and family and head out, early in the day, to one of the local locations to view our national symbol in its natural habitat. Don't forget the binoculars!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff