Bald eagles are finally making a comeback in New Jersey, after being on the brink of extinction for decades on end.
The majestic birds, which are one of the most instantly recognizable symbols of the United States, used to be included on the Endangered Species Act, a federal law that grants protection to a wide variety of plants and animals whose numbers have been rapidly dwindling.
The major factor contributing to their decline appeared to be the excessive reliance on DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) for agricultural purposes across the United States.
In 1972, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strictly forbade the use of this chemical, and as a result, bald eagles, whose egg shells had become overly thin and fragile due to exposure to this pollutant, were able to restore their numbers.
The revival was also aided by other conservation efforts, linked to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, initiated by New Jersey’s Fish and Wildlife Division.
As a result, in 2007, bald eagles were ejected from the endangered species list, after wildlife experts came to the conclusion that these birds of prey were on their way to recovery.
It appears that the decision was indeed well-founded, since the New Jersey Bald Eagle Protect Report has confirmed that these avian creatures have been experiencing an unexpected resurgence in recent years.
According to experts at the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, who were the ones who compiled this new study, a total of 161 bald eagle pairs have been identified by volunteers in 2015, after a thorough investigation that involved 191 nesting locations.
This is an incredibly gladdening trend, given the fact that at the beginning of the 1980’s, there were just 2 bald eagles remaining in New Jersey.
Despite relying on this single pair of birds, the population somehow managed to grow steadily, 23 such couplings being identified in the Garden State in 2000.
By 2005, their number had more than doubled, reaching 48 pairs, and in 2010 wildlife officials announced that the population of bald eagles in New Jersey now consisted in 82 nesting pairs.
It looks like the last five years the upturn of this species was even more dramatic, the number of pairs increasing once again almost twofold.
Observations made by members of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, alongside volunteers and experts from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation have also revealed that the ascending trend will undoubtedly persist in the following years as well.
Birdwatchers have discovered that of the 191 nesting sites that they have been following, approximately 150 were active, bald eagles having laid eggs there.
Given the fact that around 1.33 eaglets usually hatch in every such nest, researchers estimate that the local population of bald eagles has already increased by around 200 fledglings by now.
Image Source: Flickr