Bald Eagles Make Startling Comeback
OutdoorHub Reporters 02.18.15
On June 28, 2007, the US Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species, signifying the recovery of a national symbol. Now eight years later, biologists are saying that the bird has moved well away from the brink of extinction. There are now roughly 69,000 eagles across the United States, up from the mere 500 nesting pairs that existed in 1963.
“It’s hard to step away from the fact that they are our nation’s symbol and knowing that they’ve now come back from the brink,” Patti Barber, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, told CBS News. “I think a lot of people have a lot of pride that we managed to do that.”
Bald eagles are slow breeders and take about three months to nurture their young. An experienced eagle pair may raise up to two or three chicks every year, an investment that requires enormous amounts of time and energy from the parents. Despite this, in states like Nebraska, 2014 was a record year for eagle nesting. This is especially notable because the Cornhusker State only documented its first active eagle nest back in 1991.
“In less than a quarter century this species has gone from a nonexistent breeding species to one that is relatively numerous in the state,” stated Nebraska Game and Parks in a press release, adding that the state is now home to 111 active nests.
Biologists in North Carolina also recorded high nesting activity, with at least 192 nesting pairs moving into areas of the state previously devoid of eagles. In fact, experts said that just about every lake in the state has had eagles move in over the past few years.
“That’s a habitat those birds didn’t have before,” David Allen, head of the state wildlife diversity program, told the News & Observer. “We have the potential to have more eagles in the state now than we had 100 years ago.”
Although eagles still face obstacles such as dwindling nesting habitat, many biologists are optimistic about the bird’s future.
Have you ever seen an eagle egg hatch? This video was captured by a livecam near Berry College in Georgia. Not surprisingly, Georgia was one of the states who reported a new nesting record in 2014.