Winter is one of the best times to see bald eagles in Missouri. These dazzling giants often congregate around large bodies of water where fish are abundant. A few years ago, on a day much like today, Dean and I spotted a pair of adult bald eagles circling lazily on the warm, rising thermals of a mid-winter day. Their white head and tail feathers shone brightly against the sky. We watched the pair with excitement. Within minutes, a darker sub-adult eagle joined them. We were thrilled to get a rare glimpse of this eagle family, especially since we were so far from the large lakes and rivers where the eagles prefer to congregate.
In North America, the two largest eagle species are the bald eagle and the golden eagle. The golden eagle is the larger of the two north American species, but the bald eagle is more abundant and widely distributed throughout the United States. In 1782, when the bald eagle was chosen as the symbol for the newly formed United States of America, there were estimates of over 20,000 nesting pairs in the U.S. alone.
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Jill Henderson is an artist, author and naturalist with a passion for wild edible and medicinal plants, organic gardening, seed saving and sustainable agriculture. She currently authors and edits the blog Show Me Oz: The Very Best of the Ozarks (http://showmeoz.wordpress.com), which focuses on building community around sustainable ideals relevant to the people of the Ozarks region and beyond. She has written three books: The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons. Available in print and ebooks