The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey native to North America. It holds the dual role of being both the national animal and the national bird of the United States of America. The Bald Eagle likes to eat fish. Its habitat is usually wetland areas: swamps, rivers, or by the ocean. Imagine someone who eats nothing but raw fish talking into your face. That is what a Bald Eagle smells like.
Bald Eagles are opportunistic. When not eating other fish they prey upon small mammals, reptiles, and weaker birds. They also eat garbage. It is not uncommon to see Bald Eagles by the dozens at landfills. Bald Eagles subsist on garbage and carrion in some areas during the winter. Carrion is the dead, decaying flesh of another animal. Bald Eagles are also kleptoparasites. This means parasite by theft. They survive by stealing food from other animals.
The United States of America adopted the eagle from the Roman Republic. Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany also adopted the eagle from the Roman Republic. The Eagle Feather Law prevents Americans from owning a Bald or Golden Eagle feather, with the exception of Native Americans. The fine may be as high as $25,000.
In 1784 Benjamin Franklin wrote:
“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. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”
The Bald Eagle may be the perfect symbol of the United States of America today: a bird of bad moral character, a coward, a thief, one who preys upon the weak, dwells in garbage and is easily defeated by a smaller foe.