Until 1995, the bald eagle had been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 43 of the 48 lower states, and listed as threatened in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington and Oregon. In July of 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the status of bald eagles in the lower 48 states to threatened.
Only a handful of species have fought their way back from the United States' endangered species list; the California gray whale, the American alligator, and the bald eagle are a few. Once endangered in all of the lower 48 states, the bald eagle's status was upgraded to "threatened" in 1995, two decades after the banning of DDT and the passing of laws to protect both eagles and their nesting trees.
About half of North America's bald eagles live in Alaska; British Columbia and the US northwest coast is also a great stronghold. They flourish in these areas in part because of salmon (dead or dying fish are an important food source for all bald eagles).
Causes of death to the bald eagle are:
The majority of recreational hunters are law abiding and safety conscious. Unfortunately, eagles are occasionally killed by fatal gunshot wounds inflicted by careless and ignorant hunters, malevolent people, and poachers who want to sell their feathers and talons on the black market.
Electrocution from taking off and landing on power poles when their large wings bridge two wires, resulting in fatal burns or heart failure.
Lead poisoning from eating wounded deer, ducks, and other game which eluded the hunter and later died. Three pellets can kill an eagle.
Less adept at hunting, young eagles are more likely to eat carrion, and possibly ingest poisoned meat used to bait wolves and coyotes.
Collisions with vehicles.
Starvation where the food is scarce. Up to half of them starve to death their first winter, due to lack of hunting skills.
If an eagle ends up in the water due to misjudgment of altitude or snagging a large fish, there's a danger they may die of exposure.
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