Much of the United States is today celebrating American Eagle Day. The American Eagle Foundation has been instrumental in helping set-up the special day to especially celebrate Bald Eagle population recovery. The Bald Eagle, once endangered, is a species that has recovered from near extinction and is an iconic symbol in the USA.
The Senate and House of Representatives have resolved to recognise American Eagle Day every 20th June and it has so far been proclaimed in 41 states.
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is urging Americans to mark the day with special ceremonies and schools to help further educate children about the American Eagle.
The AEF has set up a live Eagle Nest Cam on American Eagle Day, where the public can see a pair of Bald Eagles caring for their three eaglets.
It will also today be releasing a captive Florida Bald Eaglet in the Great Smoky Mountains to honour fallen American soldier, Private First Class Estell Lee Turner, from the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, who successfully completed 60 missions and was given the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
The AEF operates a "Wings of America" birds of prey show and "Eagle Mountain Sanctuary" Bald Eagle exhibit at Dollywood featuring non-releasable eagles and other birds of prey.
America added the Bald Eagle as the main image in its national emblem on 20 June 1782.
The numbers of Bald Eagle nesting pairs had fallen to 417 in 1963. Today, there are 12,000 over the 28 lower states.
As a result of the recovery, the U.S. Department of the Interior and Fish & Wildlife Service took the Bald Eagle off the Endangered Species list in 2007.
However, Bald Eagles and golden eagles still have protection thanks to the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940.
Not-for-profit body AEF was founded in 1985 and brings together concerned citizens and professionals to conduct Bald Eagle and environmental recovery programs in the US and to help private, state and federal projects do the same.
Celebrating "American Eagle Day" on June 20th - Singer/Songwriter & Actress Dolly Parton and American Eagle Foundation president Al Louis Cecere; Credit: © AEF/Business Wire
The American Eagle Foundation aims to fully restore the Bald Eagle and to "Build A Nest-Egg" for their future care and protection. Its headquarters is at the Dollywood entertainment park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The group also cares for injured and orphaned eagles and its Pigeon Forge eagle center, caring for 80 birds of prey each day. The birds are so badly hurt that they cannot be freed back into the wild.
Many have reproduced and the centre is now the world's largest Bald Eagle breeding facility. Dozens of hatched eaglets have been released in the Great Smoky Mountains region and other areas.
AEF also carries out environmental education and has given more than 10,000 "free flight" birds of prey programs since 1991 using the eagle centre's birds.
It aims to teach respect and appreciation of American eagles and their natural habitat.