Return of the American Bald Eagles

January 25, 2011


photo by Steve Damstra

This is an excerpt from my non fiction book The Dynamic Great Lakes
High above the sand dunes in West Michigan, a pair of American
bald eagles cavort; they dart, dive and swirl through the air at
dizzying heights. Suddenly one of them turns on its back and they
grasp talons spinning into a daring, cart wheeling free fall toward
earth. They unlock talons and flap their powerful wings, flying
upward at the last instant before hitting the ground. This, their
courtship ritual, will bond the two eagles together for life.
Today, bald eagles are seen around the Great Lakes more and
more often, but in 1978, these magnificent birds were threatened.
Threatened with extinction. Their eggs never hatched since
pesticides that lingered in the environment long after they were
sprayed to kill insects magnified in Great Lakes food pyramids. The
eagle is at the peak of the food pyramid and its favorite food is fish.
This makes the eagle an environmental indicator; a measuring stick
of how well the whole ecosystem is faring. Where the ecosystem is
healthy, eagles can live and raise their young
Since DDT was banned in 1972, the nesting eagle population has more than
tripled.

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One Response to “Return of the American Bald Eagles”

  1. You got me, I’m clicking thru.

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