American Eagle

Everything about them is big. They are one of nature’s largest raptors, with wings that can span eight feet, and nests that can weigh up to a ton. Unique to North America, the bald eagle is the continent’s most recognizable aerial predator, with a shocking white head, electric yellow beak and penetrating eyes. Yet most people know little about it beyond its striking appearance.

In the 1960s, the bald eagle was on the brink of extinction caused by the pesticide DDT and other human pressures. Following their protection as an endangered species, bald eagles have come roaring back. But even in the best of times, life in the wild for these birds is a surprisingly tough struggle.

From the pristine wilderness of Alaska to the Upper Mississippi River Valley, American Eagle goes behind the scenes and into the nest to provide the ultimate bird’s eye view into the private life of an American icon.

  • Gord Nicholson

    please tell me in advance of several of your future nature programs I can see on my TV. I have basic tv and my server is cogeco. thanks gord nicholson

  • NATURE Online

    If you’d like to receive updates about upcoming NATURE programs, please sign up for the NATURE Update newsletter by entering your email address on the right side of any page on our Web site.

  • stanley tysarczyk

    please sign me up for future program on tv

  • gretchen butler

    Pls let me know of any future programs, articles, etc. on birds of prey. Tks, Gretchen Butler

  • susanne houshmand

    this looks good-you might want to watch it too.

  • Don Alps

    There is a DVM in Anchorage named Dr. James R. Scott who recently retired after spending many years of rehabilitating not only both species of Eagle but literally hundreds of others. He was recently recognized for his role in establishing the Bird Training and Learning Center and numerous returns to the wild of not only birds but many other species as well.
    I have made him aware of this site of which I know he will have interest. Great Job!~



  • janet pence

    I just watched American Eagle on PBS Nature. WOW! Should be “required” for all children. Will order a tape or two for grandkids.

  • Sam

    It would be nice if our PBS station showed it so we could see it too!

  • Martin Murphy

    As a long-time landowner in the Mississippi River driftless area, wildlife biologist, and GIS specialist, I find that the film “American Eagle” depicts an accurate account of what can happen when conservation efforts are made along one of the most endangered wildlife refuges, the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

    With all of the uncontrolled development and logging degrading our passerine habitats along the Mississippi River flyway, it’s refreshing to know that one relative success story is accurately portrayed in this exceptional wildlife film.

    This film provokes an understanding of bald eagles not only in its broadest terms, but also in the substance of its accuracy without disturbing this magnificant raptor.

    M. Murphy

  • Debbie

    Wonderful – I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this Nature program! In ‘04 a friend emailed pics of a nesting Eagle pair in my hometown (W. Kentucky), seen for the first time in years… YES! Thank you.

  • Keith

    I especially enjoyed this Nature program. I think it’s my favorite. I have loved American Bald Eagles all of my life. I am from the upper Mississippi valley in Iowa and Illinois and always look forward to the increased Eagle activity in Winter. Great job!

  • Brenda

    Awesome show! The photography was amazing. Beautifully put together. I loved the Eagles, but also enjoyed the other birds filmed, like the Coot.
    I did not know Eagles play in the air.

  • brittney

    when the hawks were frozen,i cried

  • Coryelle Kramer-Animal Communicator

    What a wonderful DOCU I did not want it to end! I could have watched it for hours. When the underdog Eagle took off, I cheered

  • Andre

    Program was GREAT! Really informative, and I ordered the DVD for my son,he collects and Loves Bald Eagles.
    Thanks and God Bless

  • Howard Rowe

    As an avid wildlife photographer and eagle watcher, I was a bit dismayed when your otherwise outstanding program retold the DDT issue without challenge or comment. There appears to be a significant amount of evidence indicating DDT truly had little effect on eagles, and that various groups promoted and exploited the DDT ban for political advantage. I was hoping that NATURE would explore this controversy in greater detail.

  • Molly

    Since when is it an American Bald Eagle? It’s a Bald Eagle. Nice documentary but changing the bird’s name to suit your country was annoying.

  • Crystal

    My family and I watched this together and learned so much! I loved seeing the eagles in groups, we thought they were solitary birds. Thank you for such a wonderful, heartwarming story about this beautiful, awesome icon!

  • Darlene

    I loved the documentary on the AMERICAN BALD EAGLE! It was beautiful to see the male and female both taking turns to sit on the eggs and then to raise their young. Here in Louisiana we are seeing more and more eagle sightings closer to home. Today I saw three flying over my home and yesterday I saw five about 20 miles from here. We also have a yearly Eagle Expo in my area where experts come to talk about the eagle population and we go on boat tours to see the nests and eagles in their natural habitat. I was able to get some great shots of bald eagles in 2008. You can view them on my website: I am very pleased that the eagle population is progressively increasing each year locally.

    Can’t wait to view your next documentary about the wolf named Lobo….

  • Deb

    Awesome documentary, Awesome photography!

  • robert m rehmer

    Any audio CD(s) available of Lenny Willams music from this show? Thanks, BOB R.

  • Judy

    I loved this particular episode. I think the bald eagle is one of the most majestic birds. I actually work at a landfill and we are near marshlands where there is actually a nest. Many waterbirds in the area. Eagle has been seen flying over landfill numerous times. I’ve tried getting pics. Many people come out to hopefully get a glimpse of the eagle. I hope there will be more documentaries on the eagle.

  • Jim Sue Ware & Eric

    Neil Rettig does it again.He captured the eagle as a the invincible symbol and told a story in the real life of survival. Thanks for a FANTASTIC experience !!

  • John Huerta

    Your Program really Proves that The American Eagle has sored again,Thank you for airing it.

  • Dave Dodson

    A well filmed program. Beautiful shots capturing these magnificant birds. However, the obvious blatant eco-terrorist bias rendered a disgusting “crock-umentary”. The narrative was interesting until it became an anti-hunter, anti-developer, anti-anti -rant, filled with half-truths and intentionally misleading statements unsupported by real science not the bull-pap put forth by pseudo-scientists. You and the film makers ruined, corrupted what could have been a jewel in the PBS crown transmogrifing it into still another anti-humankind load of old codswollop.

  • Margie Ford

    I thought that the America Eagle show was Great! I monitor bald eagle nests in northeast Florida for The Audubon Society. I really would like for a Americans to learn about our beautiful national symbol!

  • NATURE Online

    In case you missed the premiere on TV, you can now watch the full episode online:

  • Audrey

    Molly, it helps if you can read:
    Unique to North America, the bald eagle is the continent’s most recognizable aerial predator, with a shocking white head, electric yellow beak, and penetrating eyes.

  • Gene

    Amazing Program. Informative, Entertaining, Enlightening. A must see for all ages.

  • Kay

    I loved watching this film! A link to a 01/24/2008 news release shows that 649 eagles were counted during the Ohio 2008 mid-winter eagle survey:

    I never even saw a bald eagle in the 60’s & 70’s when I was a kid. I’m seeing them now though!

  • sara

    AWESOME film the bald eagles, I love so much the represent what this country stands for thank you so much I would love to order the tape,Send me the ph#
    please the toll free # to order this owesome film;

  • cessna

    Thank you PBS for another great Nature film. I love the American Bald Eagle and follow several “Nest Cams” seasonally. When will this film be on KVPTHD again? I watched the Video online but would love to see it in HD. Thank you again.

  • Molly

    Audrey: Thanks, but I’m capable of reading. The biologist repeatedly called the bird an American Eagle during the show. The bird is called a Bald Eagle, not American, not North American, but simply Bald Eagle. I was surprised that a biologist didn’t get it right.

  • Pete Lunsford

    While I enjoyed the program and have viewed Bald Eagles on numerous occasions while fishing, I agree with Dave Dodson’s 11/17 comments and specifically to the comment about hunter’s lead bullets in deer… Please!

  • Kathy Grant Tribelhorn

    Thanks for this awesome program on eagles especially since you featured my Grandfather’s Minnesota farm along the Mississippi River. They are awesome birds!

  • XG9

    wow.what are theese messages.there a lot why? does any body know? anyway,who cares thanks pbs for all the information. it is very useful.

  • Todd in Iowa

    Wow, what a show ! Is this available in Blu-Ray DVD ?

  • j. kent nicholes “Disease threatens bald eagle population
    BioOne Veterinary sciences Dec 2008 volume 52 issue 4
    Avian diseases Mycobacteriosis in an american Bald Eagle
    Zoo Wild Med. 1999 sept;30(3):439-42 Thyroid Adenocarcinoma in a bald eagle. YOUR BIAS ON HUNTER CAUSED LEAD POISONING IN AMERICAN BALDS IS SILLy. Even the Great Bald Eagle is cursed with dieases.

  • Damaris

    Please confirm the following. Eagles in the wild at age 40 decide to either live or die. The decision to live is followed by a supposed transformation that takes about 5 months in which the eagle rips off its beak- waits for it to regrow. Then with the new beak rips off its talons- waits for these to regrow. Then when these grow in – rips off all of its feathers. Once these grow in – the transformation is complete and the eagle lives another 30 years. I can’t believe this. But I need an expert to confirm that this is not true.

  • Spotlight on PBS Nature: Engaging Learners Beyond the Four Walls « UDL Spotlight

    [...] have explored their “very UDL” companion website ? We have chosen their website on eagles as a model for how to engage learners, but we urge you to explore any of the Nature series [...]

  • c p

    the program mentioned that the nestcam was still active and viewable online – could you please provide the link please – thank you

  • Steve

    This was the 2nd edit for this piece. The producer felt the first cut was too artsy. I think I would like to see that too. While the name “American Bald Eagle” isn’t accurate it is very much accepted, as sub species or geographic variations within the species do occur (i.e. Canadian Bald Eagle). Believe me that I am one of the first to pooh-pooh the “bad human” perspective It IS an unfortunate fact that as scavangers eagles do ingest lead and do in fact die from it. Nearly EVERY California Condor has been taken into captivity and treated for lead poisoning at some point. Sorry to offend, but this is fact.

  • bjp

    To view the nest cam for the eagles and other raptors, go to and click on “nest viewer/bird cams”

  • dueces


  • Virginian

    If you like eagles, visit to watch the eagle cam. It’s an amazing up close experience.

  • Ryan Lesniewicz

    I love this show. I love the bald eagles and photography them a lot here in Northwest Ohio. I live in one of counties with the most nests in the state. Great program!

  • Brent Horn

    Thank You so much for this program. I saw my first American Bald Eagle 5 years ago, and have become an avid Eagle watcher ever since. They used to be non-existant in southern Illinois, but we have found around 20 active nests in the area that we’ve found. I’m sure there are many more we haven’t seen. If you’ve never seen one in the wild, it will open a window in your soul that you never knew existed. Such an awesome animal to see. Magnificent is such a truly fitting word.

  • Dana – Studley,VA

    I thought it was an excellent and informative program. I never once thought about an eagle getting lead poisoning from a deer carcas. That was just the saddest thing! I learn so much from these Nature shows. We have eagles that live near us and I spot them from time to time. Amazing!

  • J. Horne

    to James Donald, Producer…

    Please tell me where you got your evidence to support the claim that DDT caused raptor eggshells to thin. I would like to read it for myself. Even the World Health Organiztion still promotes the use of DDT. No other pesticide has done so much to saves lives with almost zero environmental impact. It does NOT cause cancer. Millions of people die every year where it is not used.

    Whether or not the claims of DDT are true, you could have left the controversy out of your production without compromising it in any way. Furthermore, you compromise your credibility by taking stand not supported by many reputable scientists. GOOGLE: DDT scam and see for yourself.

    My grandfather was a Michigan farmer who mixed DDT with his hands (as a child I helped him on the farm). He sprayed DDT on hundreds of acres, as did the neighboring farmers. He live 93 good long years with a strong heart and w/o cancer. I’m only 59, ditto. There is no evidence of DDT causing cancer in peope of that area. What they got was a cheap, environmentally safe pesticide that promoted good crops and fed a lot of people.

  • Mary Hartenstein

    I seen a Bald Eagle in Metairie, Louisiana, today ,March 22, 2010 around 12 noon. The eagle was flying towards the West. I have never seen one around here before. I have seen the next between Kenner and LaPlace off of I-10.

  • Al Jim

    Answer for Damaris:

    Damaris says:
    February 25, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I found this information regarding de myth of the rebirth of the eagle. Hope helps you.

  • mini cheescake recipes

    This was the 2nd edit for this piece. The producer felt the first cut was too artsy. I think I would like to see that too. While the name “American Bald Eagle” isn’t accurate it is very much accepted, as sub species or geographic variations within the species do occur (i.e. Canadian Bald Eagle). Believe me that I am one of the first to pooh-pooh the “bad human” perspective It IS an unfortunate fact that as scavangers eagles do ingest lead and do in fact die from it. Nearly EVERY California Condor has been taken into captivity and treated for lead poisoning at some point. Sorry to offend, but this is fact.

  • Mike

    Interesting! I hope that everyone had a great weekend and I hope that they had a Merry Christmas!

  • Larry W.

    This episode is really great in the blu-ray format. It has beautiful footage of the eagles flying and much about their nesting and survival (one of the eagles is blind in one eye and survives). It’s a must have episode of Nature– especially for those with blu-ray players.

  • Gail R. Campbell

    Eagles will also hunt small deer they can knock down in the forest by flying at them and hitting them to throw them off balance. Hurtling down from a tree, they can manage a pretty stunning blow. I don’t know how exactly they kill the deer, but tribal friends have told me they’ve seen eagles swoop from trees and do this.

  • Chuck Williams

    The show was informative. Unfortunately you have choosen th perpetuate the myth of DDT damage to wildlife.
    Go to and search for 100 things you shoudl know about DDT. Do your own research don’t be fooled by environmentalist propaganda. See for yourself. DDT did not harm wildlife but banning of the chemical has lead to the deaths on millions from Malaria particularly in Africa. Please don’t believr me research for yourself.

  • Doug Mattson

    I have even seen a eagle hovering over a busy highway in Minneapolis MN snatching roadkill !

  • embroidery equipment

    what is going to be next

  • Bill Tobin

    The claim that DDT caused bald eagle populations in the USA to decline has been proven over and over again as a fraudulent lie. But, then again, I don’t give PBS enough credit to acknowledge proven science when it comes to the advocacy of a political agenda. Shame on the producers! Shame on PBS!

  • Josh Gates

    I also must state my dissapointment at the claims that DDT was responsible for decreasing populations of the American Bald Eagle. It is an unjustified connection made without substantial evidence. While I will admit that it is a very effective finishing move in the world of professional wrestling it certainly can’t cause shells to weaken. Although it was used quite well by men such as The Rock and Mick Foley, I never seen anyone actually wrestle an eagle. Much less use the DDT as a move against one. Please PBS, do better research. You are making claims against a wrestling institution that has only brought excitement and happiness to the world. Shame!

  • Jake “The Snake” Roberts

    The DDT can weaken anything!

  • Thomas

    Very important article about an reintroduction program of eagles you can read at

  • Mike

    What is the proof that the population of Bald Eagles went into free fall after DDT came into use? I’ve heard this assertion many times, but I’ve never seen any proof.

  • Linda

    how can someone see this in Canada. Is there a way to see it on without buying it?

  • Janelle Bodford

    Quieres conocer nuevas amigas

  • Elaine

    Wonderful movie. I learned so much about Eagles from this presentation. I will view it a few more times. Some parts are so sad, but they are all known fact of nature. So sad that people are not more careful with animals they shoot.

  • Donald Hefferon

    Take care, paketresa

  • tory burch nylon tote

    There are certainly numerous details prefer that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am certain that your job is clearly identified as a fair game.

  • Eventagentur

    Can one just say what a relief to get someone who actually knows what theyre talking about online. You definitely know tips on how to bring an issue to light and ensure it is important. More people need to learn to read this and understand this side in the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  • Beats By Dr Dre

    welcome our web side

  • Google Ron Paul

    Do you have family in America? Tell him to Google Ron Paul.

  • flying shark

    Definitely believe that that you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked whilst folks consider concerns that they just do not understand about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • Suzanne Andersen

    My husband and I enjoy watching this program . We have been viewing several Bald Eagles that we spotted afew years ago while Duck hunting near Beaver,Utah. AWESOME ……………………

  • Rosia Hohlt

    Looks like this christmas is going to be very nice, seeing more decoration designs, i am going to focus more on my yard

  • Ria Sandin

    As I website owner I believe the subject matter here is very good , regards for your efforts.

  • seo

    I want to take a photo with me and my friend in my backyard, and I thought taking it at sunset would be cool. What poses can we take? And what is a cool way to place the camera?

  • Ring

    definite legal requires. Witness or defendant gonna court and knowledge the legal

  • Wally Rav

    Daily I seem to struggle and somehow solve my own computer problems. It is very frustrating not to mention time consuming when all my computer bits and pieces seem to be at odds with one another. Even a simple printer malfunction can crave a big hole in my day. However I can only imagine the panic of others who are far less computer literate than I am as they find themselves in a predicament of even the simplest computer glitches that they have no idea how to solve.

  • Susanne Sollie

    good website!! You could start many more. I love all the info offered. I will stay tuned.

  • Latashia Gluszek

    Get the Secret Technique of how to Spam Google to get first Page Rank and Have Them Love You For it. This method is straightforward and Saves you Time and Money….

  • Toccara Umbarger

    It’s the first time when i’ve seen your site. I can gather a lot of hard work has gone in to it. It’s actually good.

  • Damon Deso

    Hi Dave,thank you for this comprehensive article about SEO. I worked a lot on improving my site load time recently, not only to improve SEO but simply to improve user experience. Besides the usual stuff (less http requests, caching etc.), I am also using Cloudflare as CDN. Overall, I am happy with the improvements. However, I noticed (via using YSlow and Page Speed) that most of the time it takes to load the page is not attributed to loading files or images, but simply “wait time”. I do not understand what that means though. Once I enter the URL in the browser, there is a significant delay (above 1 second usually), where nothing seems to happen. Afterwards, the usual sequence of events appears (html file, images, css, JS etc.). Would you know where this initial wait time comes from?Thanks, cheers,Steffen

  • Toney Cran

    If the pimple becomes black does this mean that my acne are blackheads? Are the rest of them whiteheads then?

  • grad school personal statement

    I think that this is worth a read. Great! Thanks for posting!

  • Tamika Devincent

    Throughout the grand pattern of things you secure a B+ just for effort. Where exactly you confused me personally was first on your details. You know, as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And that could not be more true in this article. Having said that, allow me inform you precisely what did deliver the results. The article (parts of it) can be incredibly engaging which is most likely the reason why I am making the effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Next, whilst I can easily see the leaps in reasoning you make, I am not necessarily convinced of just how you appear to connect the points that help to make the actual conclusion. For the moment I shall yield to your issue but hope in the foreseeable future you link your facts better.

  •!/network_radio sean hannity

    Ron Paul supporters not only appear when his name is invoked 3 times, it drives them crazy, an admittedly short trip.

  • Caravan Satellite Systems

    It’s actually a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • At Home Laser Hair Removal Cost

    A large percentage of of the things you point out happens to be astonishingly legitimate and that makes me wonder the reason why I had not looked at this in this light before. This particular piece really did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific issue goes. Nevertheless there is one factor I am not too cozy with so whilst I make an effort to reconcile that with the actual central idea of your issue, permit me see just what the rest of your subscribers have to point out.Very well done.

  • Addie Wolzen

    Great post I was just about to give up as I got fed up of all the plain silly methods and guides I found plastered all over the place

  • Max Beaulieu

    AWSOME site guys loved it. hope you guys don’t mind i use some of the info for school. P.S. I<3 EAGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Max Beaulieu


  • Max Beaulieu

    EAGLES ARE AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cheese puff

    I love CHEESE PUFFS!

  • Wilbur Santellan

    Interessant mais bon, tout est relatif. Le beau ou la beauté est une notion abstraite liée à de nombreux aspects de l’existence humaine. Ca tiend a l’esthétique, mais aussi a l’histoire, la sociologie, voir la psychologie. La beaute est est personnelle et sensorielle, le plaisir, la satisfaction. Vous devriez jeter un coup d’oeil au Club Des Createurs, vente par correspondance de produits de beauté et de cosmétiques. Soins pour le visage et le corps, maquillage, shampoing et soins pour les cheveux, retrouvez notre selection de produit beauté, de parfum et d’accessoires …

  • Conrad Bristol

    Not sure you acquire this one? Really? And so the way you decipher it, because Jobs talked about a ton of music on his Ipod he couldn’t ALSO have, appreciate and enjoy a ton of vinyl? How can you think most of it caused it to be onto the Ipod-and on CDs before that- initially! Why is there this rush to always try to replace mediums rather than allowing them to coexist? Because we invented the wheel didn’t mean unfortunately we cannot ever desire to walk again and really should cut off our legs. Simply because we can fly in the airplane doesn’t suggest we don’t wish to drive places too. Hello. Neil Young knows that better than most. He embraces progress in technology as it applies to recorded mediums (his Archives, natch) without eschewing the strengths and quality of vinyl. Why always look for a side, choose a team, choose a medium? Maybe I prefer having and taking advantage of more than one option. Why folks that fancy themselves so progressive can’t obtain that is beyond me. It’s really a terribly short sighted attitude and yes it ultimately does a lot more harm than good both business wise and artistically.

  • hiv symptoms in men

    The actual amazon kindle retain one among the incredible store to invest in the kindle together with novels

  • Lydia Harper

    This video is great. I love Bald Eagles. They are so amazing! I love to watch then go about there lives and raise their young. Eagles are such good moms and dads.

  • johann

    I liked the show, but these silly little popup adds about “evolutionary ancestors” is so 18th century. I hope your $450,000,000 federal monies gets pulled.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 THIRTEEN Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.