Bald eagle, Image created by Hope Rutledge

bald eagle

   Status of the bald eagle - On June 28, 2007 the Department of Interior took the American bald eagle off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened. Bald Eagle Delisting

   Bald eagles will still be protected Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for Take of Eagles.

Lead exposure in bald eagles in the Upper Midwest

   In 1972 the United States ban DDT. Many countries followed suit, although DDT is still used in some parts of the world.
   Lead poisoning caused by ingesting shot is another hazard to the bald eagle. The United States banned the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, but Canada did not issue a nationwide ban until 1997.

   Reintroduction programs have helped to bring the bald eagle back to areas from which they had disappeared, but there continues to be a problem. George Laycock (Autumn of the Eagle, 1973) clearly described the plight of today's eagles:
   As the total numbers decline, the death of an individual eagle assumes an increasing seriousness in relation to the remaining population. Today's eagles survive in a chamber of horrors. The hunting parent lifts a sick fish from the water and with it carries along to the nest a new portion of chemical insecticides. And fish may be attached to a tangle of tough mono filament fishing line, in which the young become entangled and die. Another eagle, a young inexperienced bird, meanwhile falls victim to an automobile. Others drop before thoughtless gunners, are caught in traps, or are methodically executed by sheepmen using poisons, shotguns, traps, and airplanes.
   More insidious than these recognizable hazards are the invisible pressures exerted on the remaining eagles: stresses from crowding, noise, and environmental pollution, some of them only speculative, inconclusive, and not measurable. There are other factors that can only he revealed by sophisticated chemical analysis of the tissues, among them DDT (Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloro Ethane), DDE (Dichloro Diphenyl Dichloro Ethylene), PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls), and heavy metals. Whether one such agent alone brings Death to the individual eagle or they combine in some unfathomed mixture scarcely matters. Total pressures upon the eagles are overwhelming.

   There are flickers of light in all this darkness. We have been acting to set aside land for eagles and the other species that share their world. We are working to save those eagles that have been pushed to the edge of extinction ---captive breeding programs, brood manipulation of Cain and Abel species, and, in extreme cases, armed guards at nests are fighting to keep us from losing birds like the Philippine Eagle forever.

The information and photos on this web site may be used for student projects as long as neither are placed on other websites. The photographs are copyrighted by Hope Rutledge, the owner and author of the American Bald Eagle Information website, and are NOT available for other websites, photo galleries or commercial use of any kind.

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