Education Specialist, Trent Powell, profiles the big, majestic, bald eagle. A bald eagle’s white head may make it look bald. But actually the name comes from an old English word, “blade,” meaning white. These unforgettable birds have been our national symbol since 1782. Bald eagles were on the brink of extinction because of hunting and pollution. But laws created almost 40 years ago have helped protect them, and they’ve made a comeback. Female bald eagles are a bit bigger than males. Their bodies can be three feet long, and their wingspan can be eight feet.