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BALD EAGLE } Haliaeetus leucocephalus

RANGE: Throughout North America, south to northern Mexico

STATUS: Formerly listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act; delisted 2007

THREATS: Habitat loss, contamination from DDT application and lead shot, disturbance, and persecution

The majestic bald eagle is a major player in American conservation history. Chosen by Congress as the nation’s symbol in 1782, it became a casualty of the country’s social and technological transformation. The bird was subject to widespread extermination efforts, and even fed to hogs in Maine. And when the story of its poisoning by DDT was popularized by Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring, a young environmental movement rallied around the species: The eagle was one of the first animals listed under the 1967 precursor to today’s Endangered Species Act. The eagle’s comeback because of the Endangered Species Act has been legendary.


Photo © Robin Silver