Monday, June 20, 2022

Bald Eagle recovers but not without risk for American Eagle Day 2022

Happy American Eagle Day! I bear good and ill tidings about Bald Eagles today. I begin with the good news from Newsy: After Near Extinction, Bald Eagles Are Flying High!

“It use to be when we started birding you’d see an eagle every 10 years,” said Jan Snyder, Volunteer, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.
That's the situation for the species in the lower 48 states. Now for a local perspective in Once nearly extinct, New Jersey’s bald eagle population sees resurgence from News 12 New York.

There was once just one bald eagle’s nest in New Jersey. But that number rose to 220 last year.
That's all great news that makes me happy. However, the national bird is still facing a significant risk, which FOX 13 Tampa Bay explains in Study: Nearly 50% of bald eagles have chronic lead poisoning.

While the bald eagle population has rebounded from the brink of extinction since the U.S. banned the pesticide DDT in 1972, harmful levels of toxic lead were found in the bones of 46% of bald eagles sampled in 38 states from California to Florida, researchers say.

Similar rates of lead exposure were found in golden eagles, which scientists say means the raptors likely consumed carrion or prey contaminated by lead from ammunition or fishing tackle.
Lead poisoning is not just for Flint's water. Also, continuing to use lead bullets is another example of "hunting, you're doing it wrong." Maybe I should become an advocate for hunting with copper bullets, although that's not good for fish and other aquatic life. Or maybe I should just add it to the stories I tell my students about two of Commoner's Laws: There is no away and everything is connected to everything else.

I have more wildlife holidays with National Seashell Day, World Giraffe Day, and World Rainforest Day coming up. Stay tuned.

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