According to a new survey, bald eagles, which were once considered extinct, are now flourishing.

Bald Eagle
(Photo : Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images))

The loss of Bald Eagles caused Congress to pass the Bald Eagle Preservation Act in 1940, which made it illegal to kill or disturb eagles and possess eagle pieces such as feathers, eggs, and nests.

Recent Reports

Bald Eagle
(Photo : Richard Lee on Unsplash)

In a recent survey, the US Fish and Wildlife Service claims that the population of bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009. According to the survey, over 316,700 bald eagles and more than 71,400 nesting pairs were present in the lower 48 states during the 2019 breeding season.

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On Field Surveys

Bald Eagle
(Photo : mana5280 on Unsplash)

Aerial surveys conducted by Migratory Bird Program pilot biologists and observers over a two-year period in 2018 and 2019 were used to estimate the population. In places where aerial surveys were not feasible, they partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to collect alternative data.

In a press conference, US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said, "This is really a landmark environmental success story."

The knowledge was then combined with data on longevity, productivity, and breeding rates to approximate the population size.

"We're hoping that this will allow the Service to monitor bald eagle populations over a much larger region in the future in the most cost-effective way," said Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez, Assistant Director of Cornell Lab's Center for Avian Population Studies.

The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles: Rescued Eagles Got Treatment While Largest Eagles Gather in British Columbia
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Yukon Environment Officers rescued an injured bald eagle on Wednesday and brought it to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve for Assessment and Treatment.

"The bald eagle has long been regarded as a holy bird by American Indians, and it is equally revered by our nation... The quick return of this prized bird reminds us of our country's mutual durability, as well as the value of becoming conscientious stewards of the lands and waters that unite us.′′

Between 1870 and 1970, bald eagle numbers in the lower 48 states plummeted due to hunting, habitat destruction, and the use of DDT, a potent insecticide that rendered bald eagle eggshells too fragile to produce viable offspring.

In 1963, there were only 417 breeding pairs, and the federal government banned the use of DDT in 1972 as part of a national campaign to preserve the famous bird. The bald eagle was then protected under the Endangered Species Act, which required the government to safeguard bald eagle populations.

Bald eagles were excluded from the endangered species list in 2007, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act also protects them.

For the momentous "conservation success story," experts credit decades of protection, the 1972 ban on the pesticide DDT, and widespread conservation efforts, including breeding schemes and habitat protection around nesting sites. When the Endangered Species Act was passed, the eagle was one of the first species to be protected due to DDT use since World War II, decimating the country's population.

Continuing Efforts

Bald Eagle
(Photo : Doug Swinson on Unsplash)

"The bald eagle's survival is one of the most well-known environmental success stories of all time," said Martha Williams, Service Principal Deputy Director. "To ensure that our nation's hallmark continues to prosper, the Service continues to collaborate with our allies in state and federal governments, tribes, non-government groups, and private landowners."

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