The bald eagle was chosen by the founding fathers because it symbolized strength, courage, freedom and immortality. The founding fathers felt that the bird encompassed these qualities in the same way that the newly formed United States did.
The process of choosing the bald eagle was not a quick one. It took almost 6 years. Other birds were suggested because many felt that the eagle, which was often seen as a pest, did not represent all the things that America did. The turkey was even suggested as an alternative to the eagle because it was said to be a more moral bird. It was rumored that the eagle was also chosen because one of the first battles of Revolution, which occurred early in the morning, awoke the eagles, and they circled above the battlefield. They were said to voice their loud cries as they flew. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared June 20, 1982, as National Bald Eagle day and also the year of 1982 as the bicentennial year of the eagle. The bald eagle symbol is seen almost daily by Americans. The symbol is found on all values of paper money and a number of the coins, including quarters.