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Celebrate National American Eagle Day

by Diana Benner

Celebrate the United States’ national symbol on National American Eagle Day. June 20th is the day to set aside to raise awareness about the bald eagle. There are many ways you can celebrate this day, including observing them in their natural habitat though eagle cams.

About National American Eagle Day

In 1995, following a request by the American Eagle Foundation, President Bill Clinton issued a formal document recognizing June 20th as American Eagle Day. It is a day to honor our national symbol and commemorate when the bird was added to the official Seal of the United States in 1782. It is also a day to educate yourself about the eagle’s importance and explore ways to ensure that they continue to thrive for years to come.

In addition to being an important American national symbol, the Bald Eagle holds significant value in many Native American cultures and religions. They signify freedom, strength, honesty, wisdom, and power.

The Bald Eagle’s range includes most of Canada, Alaska, all the United States, and northern Mexico. They can be found near large bodies of water so they can find food. They survive mainly on fish, which they get by swooping down and snatching from the water. Their nests are very large, and they continue to add to the same nest year after year. The largest recorded eagle’s nest was found in St. Petersburg, Florida. It measured 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep and weighed in at nearly three tons.

Although the Bald Eagle is no longer on the list of endangered wildlife, there are still many things that threaten its survival. Fishing wire, hooks, pesticides, and household garbage pose a serious threat to our incredible Bald Eagles.

Ways to Celebrate the Day

Below are a few ways you can celebrate the day.

Watch an Eagle Cam

Photo of Harriet and M15, SWF Eagle Cam. Photo by Lady Hawk, courtesy of Dick Pritchett Real Estate, Inc.

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam – This is the eagle cam that I watch. This nest is the home of Harriet and M15. This is their fifth season as a mated pair. While spotted most months in the area, they officially reside in the nest between the months of October and May. However, they are still in the area this year because they had a second clutch of eggs after losing their eaglet, E14 to rodenticides. If you tune in now, you can see their eaglets, E15 and E16.

National Arboretum Eagle Cam – This nest is the home of ‘Mr. President’ and ‘The First Lady” in Washington D.C. Their nest sits high in a Tulip Poplar tree among the azalea collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the United States Department of Agriculture. These cams are powered completely by solar energy.

Northeast Florida Eagle Cam – For many years, this was the home of Romeo and Juliet. Last year, there was a change in guard, and it is currently the nest of Samson, an offspring of Romeo and Juliet, and Gabrielle. Two cams provide very close up, high definition views of the nest, and a third cam shows the tree and the nest from a distance.

Clean Up

As mentioned, many eagles die from pesticides, fishhooks, and trash. One thing you can do is commit to cleaning up an area near where you live. It could be a park, a neighborhood, a river, or a lake.

Educate Yourself

Many of the eagle cams come with educational resources where you can learn more about the Bald Eagle. Trust me, once you learn about our nation’s symbol, you’re sure to fall in love with them just as I did. In addition, you can find student and teacher resources you can implement in the classroom. Some even offer opportunities to sign up for live classroom chats, where you and your students can talk with experts. In addition, be sure to check out this STEAM challenge based off the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam.

However you choose to observe American Eagle Day this year, the important thing is to just do it. Knowledge is powerful, and you can make every day American Eagle Day.

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