The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was proclaimed the national symbol of the United States by Congress in 1782. Found near open water from Mexico to Alaska, bald eagles may range over great distances but typically return to nest in the vicinity where they fledged. Numbers declined dramatically during most of the 20th century due to habitat loss, shooting, and pesticide contamination. In 1978, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bald eagle as an endangered species in 43 states, including Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Habitat protection and restrictions on killing the birds and pesticide use led to population growth and delisting of the species in 2007.

Updated 7/26/10