The population of bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009

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The number of bald eagles has more than quadrupled in the past twelve years.

According to a new study from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there are an estimated 316,000 bald eagles, including more than 70,000 breeding pairs.

Dedicated conservation efforts have helped the species, which was on the brink of extinction only in the 1960s.

Recently confirmed Home Secretary Deb Haaland called the report a “ historic conservation success story. ”

“The bald eagle has always been considered a sacred species to the American Indians,” said Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo member and first Native American Cabinet secretary. “And in the same way, it is sacred to our nation as America’s national symbol.”

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There are more than 316,000 bald eagles, according to a new report from the Fish and Wildlife Service.  That's more than four times the number reported in 2009

There are more than 316,000 bald eagles, according to a new report from the Fish and Wildlife Service. That’s more than four times the number reported in 2009

According to the 2020 update of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “ Bald Eagle Population Size ” report, there are an estimated 316,700 individual eagles in the lower 48 states, including 71,467 breeding pairs.

That’s more than four times the 72,434 individuals and 30,548 pairs recorded in 2009 – and more than seven times as many as when the bird was taken off the Endangered Species Act’s protection list in 2007.

At the time, the FWS reported about 9,800 breeding pairs.

The update looked at bird populations in four of the six Eagle Management Units (EMU) in the US: The Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway North.

The update looked at bird populations in four of the six Eagle Management Units (EMU) in the US: The Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway North.  It reported more than 70,467 breeding pairs.  That's more than four times the 72,434 individuals and 30,548 couples

The update looked at bird populations in four of the six Eagle Management Units (EMU) in the US: The Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway North.  It reported more than 70,467 breeding pairs.  That's more than four times the 72,434 individuals and 30,548 couples

The Fish and Wildlife Service reported 71,467 bald eagle breeding pairs, more than double the 30,548 pairs reported in 2009. The agency looked at bird populations in four of the six Eagle Management Units (EMU) in the US: The Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway North

DDT, a popular insecticide introduced after World War II, infected fish and plants that were eaten by bald eagles, causing birds to produce shells so thin that they would crack during incubation.  DDT was finally banned in 1972

DDT, a popular insecticide introduced after World War II, infected fish and plants that were eaten by bald eagles, causing birds to produce shells so thin that they would crack during incubation.  DDT was finally banned in 1972

DDT, a popular insecticide introduced after World War II, infected fish and plants that were eaten by bald eagles, causing birds to produce shells so thin that they would crack during incubation. DDT was finally banned in 1972

The first major decline in the number of bald eagles began in the mid-1800s, when the birds were shot and poisoned by farmers who saw them as a threat to livestock.

As the country’s human population grew, the birds’ nesting habitats declined.

Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act in 1940, which banned the killing, sale, or possession of the species, but the popularity of the pesticide DDT after World War II proved a new threat.

The dust contaminated the aquatic plants and fish eaten by the eagles, interfering with the birds’ ability to produce strong eggshells.

As a result, the shells were so thin that they often broke during incubation.

In the early 1960s, the bald eagle population hit a low of 417 breeding pairs, according to the FWS.

DDT was banned in the US in 1972 and the bald eagle was placed on the Endangered Species Act passed the following year and began its long road to recovery.

The majestic birds of prey aren’t quite out of the woods, though: Scientists recently determined the death of hundreds of bald eagles in the southeastern US from bromine, a chemical used in insecticides, dyes, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

From 1994 to 1998, about 59 birds living near artificial lakes in Arkansas died as a result of a neurological disease later identified as avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM).

The first major decline in the number of bald eagles began in the mid-1800s, when the birds were shot and poisoned by farmers who saw them as a threat to livestock.

The first major decline in bald eagles began in the mid-1800s, when the birds were shot and poisoned by farmers who saw them as a threat to livestock.

The first major decline in the number of bald eagles began in the mid-1800s, when the birds were shot and poisoned by farmers who saw them as a threat to livestock.

It was considered the deadliest pest to ever hit the species, according to The New York Times

Since then, dozens more birds, all living near artificial lakes in the Southeast, have succumbed to the condition, which affects the brain and spinal cord. New scientist reported.

As a result, the birds become disoriented and clumsy and may appear drunk – bumping into rock walls or simply starving as their hunting instincts fail them.

In a new report published in the journal Science, researchers pointed their finger at water thyme, an underwater weed that thrives in the lakes the birds are accustomed to.

Fish and waterfowl became weak and uncoordinated after eating the plant, making them easy prey for the eagles.

Timo Niedermeyer, a natural products chemist at Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany, determined that the toxic levels of bromine in the water thyme fed a cyanobacterium that grows on its leaves.

A graph from a new study in the journal Science illustrating how a cyanobacterium on the leaves of water thyme leads to a deadly neurological disease in hundreds of bald eagles in the southeastern US.

A graph from a new study in the journal Science illustrating how a cyanobacterium on the leaves of water thyme leads to a deadly neurological disease in hundreds of bald eagles in the southeastern US.

A graph from a new study in the journal Science illustrating how a cyanobacterium on the leaves of water thyme leads to a deadly neurological disease in hundreds of bald eagles in the southeastern US.

His research partner, Susan Wilde, a water scientist at the University of Georgia, called the bacterium Aetokthonos hydrillicola, or “eagle killer that grows on water thyme.”

Bromine is a naturally occurring chemical, but the weeds absorbed so much that their tissues contained nearly 1,000 times more of the chemical than the surrounding water, New Scientist reported.

“We now know who the killer is, the cyanobacteria, and we know the weapon, the poison, but now we have to find out where the bromide comes from and the molecular mechanism of this poison,” said Niedermeyer. Chemistry World

He theorized it could come from weed killer used by park rangers or wastewater from nearby power plants.

The bald eagle was sacred in many Native American countries long before the arrival of Europeans.

The founding fathers of the United States chose it as a symbol of the new nation to hear back to the Roman Republic, which often used images of eagles.

When the Continental Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States in 1782, featuring an image of a bald eagle gripping 13 arrows, there were an estimated 100,000 in the country.

Bald eagles aren’t actually ‘bald’ – the name refers to an earlier definition of the word meaning ‘white-headed’.