WASHINGTON — The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with over 300,000 birds flying across the lower 48 states, government scientists said in a report Wednesday.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said bald eagles, the national emblem that after teetered on the brink of extinction, have thrived in recent years, growing to more than 71,400 nesting pairs and an estimated 316,700 individual birds.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in her first public appearance since being sworn in last week, hailed the eagle’s recovery and noticed that the majestic, white-headed bird has ever been considered sacred to Native American tribes and the United States normally.
“The powerful return of this cherished bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and also the significance of being responsible stewards of our lands and oceans that bind us together,” said Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
Bald eagles attained an all-time high of 417 known nesting pairs in 1963 in the lower 48 states. However, after decades of defense, including banning the pesticide DDT and position of the eagle on the endangered species list in over 40 states, the bald eagle population has continued to grow. The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened or endangered species in 2007.
“It is apparent that the bald eagle population continues to flourish,” Haaland said, calling the bird’s comeback a”success story (which ) is a testament to the enduring significance of the work of the Interior Department scientists and conservationists. This job couldn’t have been done with no teams of individuals collecting and analyzing decades’ worth of science… correctly estimating the bald eagle population here in the USA.”
The celebration of the bald eagle”can also be a minute to reflect on the importance of the Endangered Species Act, a very important instrument in the efforts to protect America’s wildlife,” Haaland said, calling the landmark 1973 law crucial to preventing the extinction of species like the bald eagle or American bison.
Reiterating a pledge by President Joe Biden, Haaland said her division will review actions by the Trump government”to undermine key provisions” of the endangered species legislation. She did not offer details, but environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers criticized the Trump government for a variety of activities, such as decreasing crucial habitat for the northern spotted owl and lifting protections for gray wolves.
“We’ll take a closer look at all of those revisions and considering what measures to take to ensure that most of us states, Indian tribes, private landowners and federal agencies — have the resources we need to preserve America’s natural heritage and strengthen our market,” Haaland said.
“We’ve got a duty to do so because future generations must also experience our beautiful outside, how many people have been blessed,” she added.
Martha Williams, deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, known as recovery of the bald eagle”among the most remarkable conservation success stories of all time” and said she hopes all Americans have the chance to see a bald eagle in flight.
“They are magnificent to see,” she said.
To gauge that the bald eagle population in the lower 48 states, Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and observers conducted airborne surveys over a two-year period in 2018 and 2019. The agency also worked with the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology to obtain information on regions that were not sensible to fly over as part of airborne surveys.