In , there were 21 nesting pairs of bald eagles, with just four babies, in Maine. Six years later, the birds were one of the first animals added to the Endangered Species Act after it was signed into law in There are now nesting pairs of bald eagles in Maine, an increase of from , the previous time that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife did a survey of the birds. The experience of eagles, which were removed from the federal endangered species list in , shows that the Endangered Species Act remains necessary and should not be substantially weakened, as the Trump administration proposes. Critics argue that the act is slow in helping species to recover and that it can be too burdensome for industry and landowners.
Send us ideas for Opinion s on bald eagles stories. By Stephen Messenger. Want to see a bald eagle? Opinino F. Harris knew why the eagles had come. To many of us, 90 is the new 70, a number that is merely the marking of passing of time. On April 22, about p. The previous year, he bought his first chickens, a small flock ofjust to figure out if he could learn to raise them.
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According to the osprey report, a total Opinion s on bald eagles active osprey nests were found. But I never saw either eagle get one of those coots. Eagles are now found in every New Jersey county, but the Delaware Bay region remains the stronghold, with 47 percent of eagle Opinion s on bald eagles located in Cumberland and Salem counties and on the bay side of Cape May County. Encourage hunters to seek out lead free, non-toxic ammunition. Real Estate. Pete Bloom, biologist. He wrote: "For Atlanta gay cruise ron part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. Show Comments. Want to see a bald eagle? Northwest Florida.
Here are 13 things that every American should know about these marvelous birds of prey.
- The Trump administration announced reckless and potentially devastating new rules Monday that will weaken the Endangered Species Act, which currently bestows a mantle of protection over 1, species of animals and plants.
- Even in the short days of December, these early birds are busy gathering sticks, grass and other materials to build or repair their nests.
- Wednesday, Nov.
- Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify as our national symbol, even from a distance.
Credit Credit Illustration by Kelsey Dake. By Wyatt Williams. T he bald eagle, a bird that lives only in North America, is sometimes mistaken for an idea. Take the Great Seal of the United States: The eagle clutches an olive branch in one claw, a set of 13 arrows in the other. A real bald eagle is made of flesh and feathers and talons — a thing of nature, not a pastiche of concepts.
Noble virtues do not map neatly onto apex predators, a fact that troubled Benjamin Franklin as early as He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. Just the sound of his South Georgia drawl can move a herd of half-ton heifers, so how much trouble could a pound bird be? Besides, he sort of liked them. They came to Bluffton, a small agricultural town in the southwestern corner of the state, one or two at a time.
To the bare eye, they might have been any other raptor, any bird of prey. Maybe even just vultures. One day in , Harris picked a pair of binoculars off the dash in his Jeep and pointed his gaze toward the sky.
Sure enough, perched in the high branches of a loblolly pine was that unmistakable silhouette: wings broad as shoulders, beak pointed like a curved dagger, crest as white as milk. This was a bald eagle looking down on his farm. Harris knew why the eagles had come. The previous year, he bought his first chickens, a small flock of , just to figure out if he could learn to raise them.
Those birds moved about his acres, pecking and scratching through the pastures, fertilizing the grass his cows would graze, perching in the low branches of his trees. The bald eagles had come to eat. Harris was initially pleased by this development. Top predators have long played an important role in nature.
Predators often take the easiest prey available, weeding slow or sick animals from a flock. The eagles became his cleanup crew. That was back when Harris had only a few eagles. They kept coming. The numbers seemed to double every year. Half a dozen eagles, a dozen, two dozen. Counting eagles on the farm became a local sport. Wildlife photographers were welcomed out to take pictures.
In one image, three juvenile eagles are sparring in flight, their talons bared, their wings stretched, the head of a dead chicken floating in the air among them. By this time, Harris had realized he had a problem. The eagles were killing thousands of his chickens. How many exactly? That was unclear. He knew he needed to stop it, but what do you do about a bald-eagle infestation? Nobody in Bluffton had ever heard of such a thing.
Harris is an idealist, the kind of all-natural farmer whose cows finish on grass, whose birds run free, whose goats and sheep transform overgrown land.
His faith in biodiverse, sustainable methods has only been affirmed by his multimillion-dollar annual revenues. By the s, though, there was an entirely different bald-eagle problem: In the lower 48, all but a few hundred were presumed dead, killed off not by trigger-happy farmers but by DDT. DDT was once a celebrated innovation, a miracle compound that could fix farms and save lives. Francis of Assisi — a great lover of nature, often depicted with a bird perched peacefully in his hands.
Farmers found plenty of use for it, too. Clouds of horn flies were wiped clean from cattle herds. Apple orchards were purged of the codling moth. These insecticidal triumphs, we now know, had unintended consequences. Rain and irrigation carried DDT from fields into creeks, rivers, deltas, bays. Snails and bivalves, the filter feeders that hug the murky bottom, absorbed the chemical before being consumed by fish.
Those small fish would be eaten by bigger and bigger fish until a bald eagle swooped down from above, plucking its dinner from the water. As DDT climbed each rung of this ladder, the chemical accumulated exponentially, a process known as biomagnification. The destruction wrought by DDT helped start the environmental movement. The Endangered Species Act of , passed the year after DDT was banned, extended protection to animals including the bald eagle and provided crucial funding for their management and recovery.
In this way, the bald eagle came to embody another kind of idea, becoming a symbol for the plight of endangered species, a poster animal for the havoc wrought by industrial chemicals, a victim of our flawed, unnatural ways.
Starting in , eaglets bred in captivity were released from the top of a man-made tower on Sapelo Island in Georgia. In this artificial nest, enclosed by bars, the young birds were fed for several weeks by staff members careful not to reveal their human presence.
Once the birds were sufficiently feathered, the bars were opened, allowing the adolescent eagles to decide when they were ready to leave. This program, known as eagle hacking, expanded to two other locations in the state and continued through Like many of its fellow Americans, the bald eagle apparently prefers white meat.
When an eagle killed but did not eat the chicken, its long talons would leave an easy-to-recognize pattern of wounds. Often, though, the bird would leave no trace. The eagle would swoop down, pick up a chicken and fly off into the distance. One neighbor called to say he found dead chickens on his property. One was found on the windshield of a parked car, another hanging from a fence.
Chickens were slipping from the talon grip of eagles and falling from the sky. Unlike Harris, Coady was not born into agriculture. After receiving a Ph. During the course of his research at I. Harris hired him to manage his poultry operations in At first, he tried to make them comfortable, a management decision he came to after carefully thinking through things logically: If a hungry eagle has killed a chicken but is scared off by a human before she can finish her meal, what will stop her from coming back?
He could stand within yards of a bald eagle without scaring it one bit. His next idea was a net. Coady already put out small tarps for the birds, shade covers from the South Georgia elements. He tied the tan fabric to little metal posts near their water and feed. The chickens would huddle under them during the hot, bright hours of midday.
Unfortunately, these small tarps did not make the chickens safer. As Coady says he observed on several occasions, the bald eagles learned to fly down, land on the ground and walk beneath the tarp. A protective net, Coady reasoned, would need to be much larger. He considered the possibility. The farm is spread across a few thousand acres. An acre is roughly three-quarters the size of a football field.
Could he cover a single acre with, say, a net yards in length? The weight of such a net would make it sag to the ground, so it would need be lined with cables strong enough to lift it up. To lift such cables, he would need ratchets to pull them taut. Of course, the cables would need to be mounted to poles sunk deep enough in the ground to withstand the torque of the ratchets, not to mention the weight of the cables and net.
And even then, you were talking about only one acre out of thousands. So, no, he determined, nets would not work. Another idea was dogs. But those white, shaggy dogs seemed to have little ability or inclination to chase off the eagles. Dogs can be trained to deter birds of prey, but Coady seemed flummoxed at the prospect of finding such an animal. The law does not merely prohibit the killing of bald eagles. Without a federal permit, it is illegal even to disturb an eagle. As Coady dealt with the permit, Harris sought compensation for his losses.
Tucked deep within the Farm Bill is a program — the Livestock Indemnity Program — that, in essence, buys dead animals. Some of that money, though, covered attacks by protected animals reintroduced into the wild.
The U. The rate varies depending on the animal and the state where it was raised. The rate for chickens in Georgia, for example, is set at 4 percent. The agency said it would have to revise the mortality rate.
When it got back to him, the rate for free-range chicken farms had been set at 40 percent.
Speaking for Wildlife. What he encountered was a life deeply touched by love and death and leather. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt was instrumental in changing enforcement under the MBTA - allowing companies to forego practical best management practices to protect birds as they no longer face enforcement for failing to do so, and we are fighting this directive in court. They nested in the upper reaches of a eucalyptus tree with panoramic views of rush-hour traffic on the 91 Freeway. By the s, the spread of the pesticide DDT, which thins eagle eggshells, had led to a catastrophic decline. Overall, their diet consists mainly of fish, which they catch by diving down at speeds of 75 to 99 miles an hour and swooping them out of the water.
Opinion s on bald eagles. Disclaimer
Many raptors are having a hard time in Southern California. Burrowing owls, short-eared owls and golden eagles are extremely sensitive to human presence and steadily disappearing from the landscape. But bald eagles, now thriving in the Channel Islands and Santa Catalina Island after they were reintroduced there nearly four decades ago, are following their natural instinct to disperse and discovering new habitat on the mainland.
For instance, a pair of eagles that hatched on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara recently reared eaglets roughly 45 miles to the east in the Orange County residential area of Anaheim Hills. They nested in the upper reaches of a eucalyptus tree with panoramic views of rush-hour traffic on the 91 Freeway.
Near the city of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, a hidden camera has streamed popular, intimate scenes of adult bald eagles building a nest, laying eggs, feeding babies and circling nearby as they learned to fly — or even tumbled to their deaths.
Big Bear Lake is among dozens of reservoirs built from the s to the s that are now havens for eagles. In the Sacramento area, wildlife authorities posted warning signs and strung up yellow tape to steer eagle fans away from two nests overlooking hiking trails at Lake Natoma, just south of Folsom. Fish and Wildlife Service officials were honored as local heroes a year ago after they used a bucket-truck ladder to rescue a fledgling that had fallen from the nest and was stranded on a branch.
Exactly why bald eagles are choosing to nest close to human activity remains a biological mystery. But raptor experts suggest that the birds have become less wary of humans after decades of interactions with them during recovery efforts. Pete Bloom, a biologist who has banded raptors in Orange County for 50 years, agrees, and adds that the raptors are extremely opportunistic feeders.
But sometimes a landfill will do. In Alaska, they often feast on wolf kills. Elsewhere, they hang out at garbage dumps. In , the Continental Congress made the bald eagle the national emblem, the living embodiment of honesty, courage and power. Yet few birds have elicited such strongly opposing views.
As the U. By the s, the spread of the pesticide DDT, which thins eagle eggshells, had led to a catastrophic decline. The iconic raptors plummeted from an estimated half a million nesting pairs at the time of the European settlement to in Its flight to recovery began with a ban on DDT in and stringent protections under the Endangered Species Act at a time when the population of nesting eagles in California had dropped to 20 pairs. Since then, tens of millions of dollars have been spent on eagle recovery programs by federal, state and nonprofit groups.
In the s, scientists began to reintroduce bald eagles to the Channel Islands by helicoptering into the nests, dangling from a foot cable, rescuing the fragile eggs and substituting them with fake ones. The eggs were incubated in a lab, and the chicks returned to the nest as soon as they hatched. A resounding conservation success story nationwide, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list in One of the parent bald eagles nesting above Azusa was a male chick when Bloom banded it in in a nest at Irvine Lake, an Orange County reservoir, about 40 miles to the south.
It was probably produced by eagles that had left the islands. Four years later, it found a mate, and together they began searching for suitable trees in the San Gabriels in which to start a family.
Forest Service officials say that in they took over a blue heron nest overlooking the reservoir at San Gabriel Dam and produced two offspring.
A year later, that nest collapsed in strong winds, and at least one chick did not survive. They quickly built a new nest feet above the ground in a nearby Coulter pine slightly closer to Highway The nearby dirt pullout became a hot spot for photographers eager to catch the antics of juveniles as they matured.
But their shrieks were usually drowned out by the din of passing cars, trucks, motorcycles and heavy machinery. A photo of a bald eagle is no good unless you can see the yellow of its eyes. In a squat building in a business park in Camarillo, Rene Corado opened museum drawers filled with bald eagle eggs plucked from nests across the nation over the last years by research biologists.
Bald eagles were everywhere back then. The varying thickness of the shells of these fragile natural treasures at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, which houses one of the largest collections of eggs and nests on earth, chronicles the roller-coaster modern history of a species with a mysterious power to tug at the human psyche. Moments later, Corado handed her a 3-foot-tall specimen mounted in New Jersey in After a hearty applause, 60 Rotary members rose to their feet and recited the pledge, hands over hearts.
She stood as still as a flagpole until they sat down. About Us. Brand Publishing. Times News Platforms. Real Estate. Their successful recovery and resurgence are no coincidence. Returning the lake to its former glory and the resurgence of the bald eagle population are examples of the powerful role government can play to protect our environment. In the absence of a federal partner, New York will continue to provide national environmental leadership. Economic development aid just sweetens the profits Your letters.
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OPINION: Bald eagles thriving again in NJ
Help me understand this. Thousands of innocent children including babies have been killed during the Syrian civil war: slaughtered in bombing raids, crushed by debris, starved for lack of food, decimated by untreated diseases and injuries, and drowned in futile attempts to escape.
US response was muted. The result was minimal damage to a Syrian military airfield. A dead child is a dead child. If voters are unhappy with Sen. I know a number of people who have aged family members who are active, vital, informed and mentally sharp in direct resistance to what the calendar pages proclaim. Fortunately, Feinstein seems to be in that same senior group. To many of us, 90 is the new 70, a number that is merely the marking of passing of time.
You are a productive inspiration. How ludicrous can George F. Will become? A potent neurotoxin and insecticide, chlorpyrifos, was banned for residential use in However, use of the organophosphate pesticide continued in the nearby agricultural region of the Salinas Valley.
Next, we hear of the Trump administration lambasting Syria for the use of a nerve gas. Such hypocrisy. Jerry Brown missed the obvious, and better, solution to fix our roads. By Mercury News Readers. We encourage you to submit letters that share your opinions on issues of interest to residents in our community. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and we'll let you know if your letter is submitted for publication.
The House has spent the last year demonstrating their lack of a basic understanding of our system. I attended John Swett High, where the refinery was visible from campus and we had monthly shelter-in-place drills.
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