Friday, September 07, 2007

I saw a Bald Eagle while driving to work today. It's been four years since I've seen one of those. Which got me thinking, "Wow! The last time I saw one of those was in Alaska, four years ago." Which then got me thinking to how many of those flippin' things I saw in Alaska. Which then got me thinking about how at that time I thought the Bald Eagle shouldn't be on the Endangered Species List because it was everywhere! Which then got me thinking as to whether the great bird actually is on the Endangered Species List. Which finally made me take some action and check it the heck out!

Here's what I found (just in case you've been curious about our national bird): As of 1992 the Bald Eagle was estimated to number between 110,000 and 115,000 in North America. Of course the bird can only be found in North America (with a few exceptions in Ireland and somewhere else).1 Alaska's population alone numbers in the fifty to seventy thousands.2 Which would explain why they seemed to liter the cities of Juneau and Ketchikan. Anywho, the Bald Eagle was actually removed from the U.S. government's list of endangered species on July 12, 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was at that time reclassified as a "Threatened" species instead of an "Endangered" one.1 Don't ask me how they do their classifications. I guess that's another investigation all together. Finally as recently as June 28, 2007 the bird was removed from the "Threatened" status all together with an estimated number of nearly 10,000 pairs thriving in the lower 48 states. This up from just over 400 in 1963.2

So what's in store for the Bald Eagle in the future? Hopefully their population will continue to grow because to be quite honest, seeing one of these bad boys (or girls) soaring above the trees could be one of the most impressive sites in the animal kingdom. Can you imagine a bird with an 80 inch wingspan swooping down to grab a small meal of an animal? That wingspan is bigger than me! Even more impressive is the "mating flight" between two birds. As Hitchcock might say, "Bring on the birds!"

1. Bald Eagle. Wikipedia.
2. Bald Eagle Soars Off Endangered Species List. U.S. Department of the Interior.

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