12. Possessing Bald Eagle feathers is against the law.
As tempting as it may be to own a token of our beloved national bird, doing so is actually a federal crime, punishable by a year in jail and fines up to $200,000.
There are exception to this, however. Native Americans who use feathers in religious ceremonies are exempt from the law, but must attain Bald Eagle feathers from a government repository in Denver where the bodies of dead birds are kept in storage.
13. They were once nearly extinct, but conservation brought them back from the brink.
During the 18th century, there were an estimated 500,000 Bald Eagles soaring in the skies of North America, living symbols of a proud new nation. In the decades that followed, they began to diminish due to habitat loss and because they'd become a frequent target among hunters and trappers.
By 1940, killing the birds became illegal, but their decline continued from another threat -- the widely-used pesticide DDT, the runoff from which poisoned huge portions of their food supply. In the 1950s, only 412 breeding eagle pairs were counted in the whole of the contiguous 48 states.
Faced with the very real possibility that the national bird could be wiped out entirely, in 1967 they were added to the Endangered Species list. Not long after, DDT was banned and the birds began a remarkable recovery. In 1992, Bald Eagle numbers reached over 100,000 and rising.
In 2007, after sufficiently recovering thanks to concerted conservation efforts, Bald Eagles were delisted, though stringent protections still exist to this day.