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The Bald Eagle was officially declared the national emblem of the United States in 1782. It was selected by the founding fathers because it is a species unique to North America, with a presence in every state except Hawaii. They range from Alaska to Baja, California, and from Maine to Florida. In winter, northern eagles migrate to the warmer south where it is easier to find food. This bird has been recorded flying at a speed of 44 miles per hour. In the early 1700s there were estimated to be as many as 500,000 Bald Eagles in the U.S., but by the 1960s they had dropped to an endangered level of less than 500 pairs.