A very fun image for not only Freedom Friday but also appropriate for Endangered Species Day.
Taken this past weekend, the parents were hanging out in a tree a ways south of their home. After a while, mama decided it was time to spread her wings and ended up giving me an absolutely awesome set of 100+ images of her launch and flyby, this being one of them. For his part, dad was more interested in watch something on the ground. 😉
While the bald eagle is no longer technically an endangered species, it spent decades on the list and now, is truly a conservation success story. From the time Europeans arrived in North America, the species was hurt by ignorance that they presented a threat to livestock resulting in their killing.
Loss of habitat hurt populations further and then the pesticide DDT began seeing widespread usage in the 1940s. DDT softened eagle egg shells causing extraordinary losses and the population plummeted further. In 1963, at the low point, there were merely 417 breeding pairs of eagles left in the lower 48 states.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Endangered Species Act all were crucial in helping our national emblem’s recovery. DDT was banned in 1972 and since then the bald eagle has made an extraordinary comeback, being removed from the endangered species list in 2007.
Today, it is estimated there are more than 71,000 breeding pairs! Humans were nearly responsible for the extinction of this majestic bird but, thankfully, we realized the folly of our ways and for that I am thankful.