This dramatic picture from Florida’s Caloosahatchee River by my old friend and former colleague David Singer brings to mind the great success story involving America’s national symbol, the bald eagle.
The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent.
But by the 1960s, the bald eagle was on the brink of extinction caused by the pesticide DDT and other human pressures and the Interior Department added the bald eagel to the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Following their protection as an endangered species, bald eagles have come roaring back and in 2007 the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the list. The bald eagle is still be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The number of nesting pairs in the lower 48 United States increased 10-fold, from less than 450 in the early 1960s, to more than 4,500 adult bald eagle nesting pairs in the 1990s. In the Southeast, for example, there were about 980 breeding pairs in 1993, up from about 400 in 1981. The largest concentrations were in the states of Florida and Louisiana. Today, there are an estimated 9,789 nesting pairs of bald eagles.