The count spotted 102 bald eagles along major rivers and reservoirs across the state, dwarfing the 72 bald eagles spotted by Massachusetts state employees and volunteers last year and topping 2009’s record of 81 birds.
“It was a wonderful day for viewing eagles. We had very good conditions,” said Tom French, assistant director of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
The bald eagle was listed federally as an endangered species in 1967 after man-made chemicals and human persecution drastically reduced the population.
In 1979 Massachusetts spotted just eight bald eagles and did not report any nesting birds until a decade later.
“Bald eagles are recovering strongly,” French said. “They’ve been recovering faster in the last several years than any time during the (restoration) process.”
Eagles are a keystone predator, so this is super encouraging. They have “keystone” spiritual significance as well in many ceremonial traditions, and play a very interesting and unique role in the bird language landscape. And at least a few of those 102 live along the Connecticut River near my home!
Policy-wise I think this illustrates how big an impact pollution cessation can have. Peregrines and BE’s are doing better than anyone expected in the 70’s with the chemicals mostly removed from the environment (at least locally). Now we need to get golden eagles back too! I know some people who saw a GE just over the Maine/Quebec line a year ago, so it’s probably not out of the question for them to return to the White Mountains in the near future. Does anyone know what the limiting factor is in golden eagle breeding population success in the Northeast?
(On another topic, though, I don’t know what on Earth to make of this current trend. Very Almanac of the Dead ominous.)