Bald Eagle Is OFF The Endangered Species List

Well, it's about darn time in my book.

I'm happy to see that in my lifetime that today we have gotten something very right with conservation and that the national symbol for the United States of America has been taken off of the Endangered Species List.

The move is important on so many different levels--number one, bald eagle numbers increased from 417 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963 to an estimated new high of 9,789 breeding pairs today! The longer the eagle stayed on the list, the more critics could point to it and say, "See, it doesn't work, the bald eagle is still on the list. Let's get rid of the Endangered Species Act."

I know some are arguing that the delisting means that there could be loss of eagle habitat, but at the same time, bald eagles are choosing to nest in areas that previously weren't considered eagle habitat. Case in point, the bald eagle nest that 10 minutes from my house that's in a residential neighborhood, bordered by two major highways, and right across the street from the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport.

These birds don't care as long as they can find food like fish, injured waterfowl, and roadkill. The eagles are also still protected under the Bald Eagle Act and the Migratory Species Act. And individual states can still keep the bald eagle on state threatened or endangered lists, but it is time for eagles to be off of the federal list, so we can concentrate on the other 1,300 species still on the list.

There are still concerns like bald eagles ingesting lead --lead is something that needs to be taken out of the environment for several species. Bald eagles are exposed to lead in gut piles of deer during hunting season, the common loon (Minnesota's state bird), trumpeter swans are exposed to it via lead sinkers in the bottom of lakes and streams. Lead isn't good for anybody--including us. We need to quit putting it out there.

And if you're still not convinced that the bald eagle delisting is a good thing, rather than sending me an email or comment telling me that I'm killing eagles and I have no business calling myself a bird lover (which I don't think I have ever used that phrase to describe myself anyway), I encourage you to read about what Rhode Island is doing and start a similar program for habitat preservation in your area.