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Second chances- for bald eagles and for Mom

"Bald eagles were delisted from the Endangered Species Act in August 2007, because their populations recovered sufficiently, bald eagles are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Shortly after World War II, DDT was hailed as a new pesticide to control mosquitoes and other insects. However, DDT and its residues, washed into nearby waterways, where aquatic plants and fish absorbed it. Bald eagles, in turn, were poisoned with DDT when they ate the contaminated fish. The chemical interfered with the ability of the birds to produce strong eggshells. As a result, their eggs had shells so thin that they often broke during incubation or otherwise failed to hatch. Other pesticides related to DDT are suspected to have caused increased mortality, in addition to DDT’s harmful effects on reproduction. By 1963, with only 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles known to exist, the species was in danger of extinction."

"In 1967, the Secretary of Interior listed bald eagles south of the 40th parallel under the Endangered Species Preservation Act. In 1972, as the dangers of DDT became known - in large part due to Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring - the Environmental Protection Agency took the historic and, at the time, controversial step of banning the use of DDT and some related pesticides in the United States."

Following enactment of the Endangered Species Act, we listed the species in 1978 as endangered throughout the lower 48 states, except in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, where it was designated as threatened. The species was not listed as threatened or endangered in Alaska because populations there have remained robust.

Listing the species as endangered provided the springboard for working with our partners to accelerate the pace of recovery through captive breeding programs, reintroduction efforts, law enforcement and nest site protection during the breeding season.

Thanks to these efforts, bald eagles were granted a second chance. Their population is growing every day. They are thriving in environments free from pesticides. There are still dangers out there. Lead from bullets and fishing gear, rodenticide poisoning, and the Avian flu. We lost our "Dad" eagle to Avian flu in December, but it seems as if "Mom" has been granted a second chance as well.

Many suitors are vying for her attention. We have seen many bald eagles of varying ages come through Centerport. She remains healthy and strong.

Although we miss Dad terribly, we are happy that Mom has found a new mate.

There are an estimated 316,700 bald eagles in the lower 48 states, according to the Migratory Bird Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This is an incredible success and a true miracle that we get to witness in Centerport every day. Thank goodness for second chances!

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