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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.




EAGLE (BALD)

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The bald eagle, our nation's symbol, is often seen along the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
EAGLE (BALD) National bird of the United States. An estimated seven hundred to fourteen hundred bald eagles winter along the MISSISSIPPI RIVER between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and St. Louis, Missouri. Winter visitors to Dubuque are often treated to views of the majestic birds as they dive for fish in the open water near the dam below EAGLE POINT.

Found only in North America, and named for the white covering of feathers on its head, the bald eagle remains an endangered species throughout the continental United States except for Alaska, home for the majority of the estimated fifty thousand birds. The species has been protected by federal law in the lower forty-eight states since 1940 and in Alaska since 1953. Fines of over $20,000 can be levied for harassing, wounding, or killing one of these majestic birds.

Basically a fish eater, eagles have had religious importance to Native Americans who believe the bird to be a messenger from Earth to the heavens. Feathers, illegal to possess, are provided to legitimate Native American representatives from three feather banks maintained around the United States.

Beginning on May 21, 1987, Dubuque hosted the four day International Bald Eagle Days sponsored by the Eagle Foundation of Apple River, Illinois. Annual Bald Eagle Days featuring field observations and indoor displays have become a popular winter activity with special encouragement for school children to attend. (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque