Bald Eagle Population Making a Comeback After Near Extinction

Image: Bald Eagle Population Making a Comeback After Near Extinction

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 04:21 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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Residents in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan have seen a surprising number of bald eagles along the Maumee River this winter, evidence of the species’ comeback from the brink of extinction.

Doug Gray and Craig Valentine, who live along the river, told the Toledo Blade they've seen large numbers of bald eagles, sometimes a dozen or more at a time.

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“It’s not unusual to see a bald eagle fishing up and down the river, but I’ve never seen them in numbers like this before,” Gray told the newspaper. “It was very unique.”

With numbers falling as low as about 400 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states, bald eagles were listed as endangered in 1967. But since then, the numbers have recovered, and bald eagles were removed from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife list in 2007, and there are estimated to be more than 10,000 nesting pairs now.

Bald eagle sightings also are common in Colorado, where hundreds of bald eagles spend their winters, according to the Denver Post.

In New Hampshire, wildlife experts recently counted 69 bald eagles in one day, the highest number in 30 years, according to USA Today.

"We're excited to see that the bald eagle population in New Hampshire is continuing to approach full recovery," said Chris Martin of New Hampshire Audubon, according to USA Today. "The population is probably about 80 percent recovered."

The number of bald eagles counted recently at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada was 132, down from last year’s record count of 161, the Henderson Press reported.

Experts say the mild winter and West Nile Virus may have played a part in the decline. But they aren’t concerned because the number still is the fifth-highest count since the survey began 1995.

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