Bald Eagle is a Symbol of Strength and Nobility
Nobility is an ancient notion which harkens back to the earliest human records. Succinctly put, an individual or group is considered superior because of one or more loftier qualities which place them at the top of the food chain.
These earliest nobles were ensconced in power because of their brute strength and intelligence. Their generosity to their vassals and the vanquished gave this highborn class its nobility.
For the serfs and other members of the common folk tied to the land, a truly noble leader was appreciated for any act of high-minded consideration. So great was this gratitude for elevated ideals, medieval England even had a gold coin commonly referred to as a noble.
The appreciation of nobility came to America with the first settlers. As the United States was taking shape, the founders chose a symbol which reflected strength and nobility.
The bald eagle, a North American native which resided in Wakulla County, was selected after some debate to portray the honorable ideals. The successful observers of the day considered this bird the incarnate example of the new country’s ideas.
It is worth noting everyone agreed with this choice. Benjamin Franklin and others wanted the wild turkey, a choice which would likely have changed Thanksgiving forever.
Haliaeetus leucocephalus, as the bald eagle is known scientifically, mean sea eagle with a white head. As the name implies, the bald eagle is one of eight members of this genus which reside in Eurasia and Africa.
Wakulla County and rural parts of coastal Florida are inviting to bald eagles which have long established breeding pairs. The pairs, which usually mate for life, remain in Florida much of the year.
The term bald has an archaic definition which means white head. The bald eagle’s head and tail are covered with white feathers, contrasting with the brown feathers on the remainder of adult bodies.
These birds are considered North America’s largest raptors, or birds of prey. As with other raptors such as hawks and falcons, they are carnivores which skillfully employ their beaks and talons.
The bald eagle’s diet selections largely depend on the availability of prey. In coastal area their diet consists mainly of marine fish, but may include small mammals and other birds.
Contrary to a recent hoax internet video which had millions of views, bald eagles do not prey upon human infants or children. Fortunately for the eagles, the video’s creators quickly acknowledged it as a school animation project.
Bald eagles are fond of the many tall, open-canopy trees found in Wakulla County with close proximity to water. Many pines and cypress trees offer excellent roost from which to watch for prey.
These trees along with dense mangroves offer nesting opportunities, too. The nesting sites tend to be far from civilization to minimize, if not eliminate, interaction with humans.
The nests are reused annually by the bald eagles during the course of their approximately 20 year life span. Bald eagle nests are the largest in north America out of necessity to raise the next generation of this nation’s noble symbol.
To learn more about the bald eagles in Wakulla County, call 850-926-3931 and remember to “like” Wakullaextension on Facebook.