January 10 is Save the Eagles Day. The bald eagle is a classic icon of the United States, standing for strength, courage, and freedom. Chosen in 1782 as a symbol for our national emblem, today the bald eagle is depicted on a variety of official U.S. items, including passports, quarters, and the one-dollar bill.
These North American birds have a range that extends from the Mexico border through the United States and Canada and can be seen year-round along the west coast.
With the hooked beak and powerful talons that identify these magnificent birds as raptors, they are important predators as well as scavengers. The most important thing you can do to protect these amazing creatures is to not use any rodenticide – aka, rat poison. These materials are a major threat to rodent-eating predators. After ingesting poisoned bait, rats go back to the wild, taking up to a week to die. Any predator that eats the tainted rat may be seriously injured or die; the effect is multiplied when a raptor parent feeds the poisoned animal to its young. Data collected by WildCare, the San Rafael based wildlife rehabilitation and nature education center, indicates that 76% of all animals brought to their wildlife hospital, showed some level of rodenticide in their blood, even animals not suspected of exposure to the poisons.