Bald Eagle Population Taking Off in New York State
In 1975 only one pair of bald eagles was documented by the local government, and that pair did not have any babies. Flash ahead to the current day, and it could be that there are more bald eagles than ever.
In 2008, 573 were counted. This year, the count could be even higher. This number was quite an increase from the 51 breeding pairs and 71 young raised in 2000. Last year 173 breeding pairs raised 223 eaglets. Some of the eagles counted in New York migrated there from Canada. Many of the New York eagles live along the St. Lawrence, Hudson and Delaware rivers.
DDT and other pesticides in the food chain nearly wiped out bald eagles in New York. The fish that eagles ate to survive were contaminated with man-made chemicals and ingesting the chemicals caused eagles to produce infertile eggs. Because of the severe loss of wild eagles, the state of New York began a bald eagle restoration program in 1976. 198 nesting bald eagles were imported from other US states, mainly Alaska, over a thirteen year period.
Once breeding pairs began to produce offspring annually, the population began to grow and stabilize. Today the emphasis is on protecting the breed pairs and their nesting sites. The public can assist bald eagles and the bald eagle management program by reporting to authorities any harassment or assaults on bald eagles. Of course, harming bald eagles is illegal.
Image Credit: WKnight94