This interpretation of eagle and shield is a simplified version or adaptation
of the Great Seal of the United States, which is a far more complex design.
The bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, is the national emblem of the United
States. It is protected by law, but even then some large eagles are killed by
farmers and gamekeepers or captured for use in falconry.
As with other birds, the bald eagle has been affected by widespread use of
pesticides that, when ingested, can weaken eggs.
Eagles are predatory birds that historically have been the symbol of courage,
immortality, and power since ancient times.
All eagles have large, heavy, hooked bills and strong, sharp claws called
talons. The bald eagle is not really bald, but is so-named because of its
Eagles prey on small creatures: birds, fish, rabbits, other rodents, and
snakes. They have very keen eyesight and hunt while soaring high in the air or
watching from a high perch.
An eagle's nest normally is high in a tree or on a rocky ledge, where it cannot
be reached easily by other animals or humans. This precaution is important
because young eagles remain helpless for a long period.