Earth Words

By Staff
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Photo courtesy Fotolia/garytog
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is unique to North America and was once widespread.

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is unique to
North America and was once widespread. In 1782, when it was
chosen as our national bird, there were as many as 100,000
eagles in what would become the lower 48 states and 300,000
throughout North America. Then, habitat destruction and
widespread use of the pesticide DDT pushed the bald eagle
toward extinction, with only 417 breeding pairs remaining
in the lower 48 states in 1963. Thanks to a national
conservation and recovery effort, that population has now
rebounded to more than 7,000 pairs.