Silk’s superpowers
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Frogs and Toads
Salamanders and Newts
A Wild Ferret Rise
Tool Use Comes Naturally to Crows
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Double take
Chimpanzee Hunting Tools
The Other Side of the Zoo Fence
Chemistry and Materials
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
Cold, colder and coldest ice
Sugary Survival Skill
The Shape of the Internet
Computers with Attitude
Supersonic Splash
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Babies
Dino Bite Leaves a Tooth
Ferocious Growth Spurts
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
A Great Quake Coming?
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
Pollution at the ends of the Earth
Pollution Detective
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Where rivers run uphill
Finding the Past
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
A Plankhouse Past
Stone Age Sole Survivors
Tiger Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Symbols from the Stone Age
Making good, brown fat
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Order of Adjectives
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Deep-space dancers
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Human Body
The tell-tale bacteria
Sun Screen
Disease Detectives
Hermit Crabs
Children and Media
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Gaining a Swift Lift
The Particle Zoo
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Farms sprout in cities
A Giant Flower's New Family
Bright Blooms That Glow
Space and Astronomy
Ringing Saturn
Supernovas Shed Light on Dark Energy
Planets on the Edge
Technology and Engineering
A Clean Getaway
A Satellite of Your Own
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
What is a Verb?
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Where rivers run uphill
Watering the Air
Add your Article

Bald Eagles Forever

It's easy to see a bald eagle in the United States. Just look at the official seal on a $1 bill. To the nation's founders, the big, white-headed bird represented freedom and majestic beauty, and it quickly became a national symbol. Today, the bald eagle is also an example of an environmental success story. In the 1960s, only about 400 breeding pairs of bald eagles remained in the lower 48 states. Now, thousands of bald eagles soar U.S. skies, and their numbers continue to grow. "You hear a lot of bad news about what happens to wildlife, and species are added to the endangered species list all the time," says John Kostyack of the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, D.C. But "we do have success stories," he adds. Bald eagles have recovered so well that the U.S. Congress may soon remove them from the list of endangered and threatened species. However, scientists are still debating whether this change ought to occur. The final decision should come this summer. Endangered species Trouble for bald eagles and other birds began when farmers began to use a chemical called DDT, which protected crops from insects but also killed birds and made the shells of their eggs dangerously thin. The U.S. government banned DDT in 1970, and bird populations started to rebound. A law called the Endangered Species Act (ESA) also helped. Passed in 1973, the ESA makes it illegal to harm plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened. It also protects their habitats. If anyone wants to build on land where listed species live, scientists must review the proposal first. "The act is a safety net intended to stop us before we drive a species to extinction," says Cat Lazaroff of the law firm Earthjustice. "It helps us look before we leap and make decisions that allow us to live side by side with the wildlife in this country." The bald eagle's recovery, Lazaroff says, is a perfect example of how well the ESA can work. It also illustrates how science and the law can team up to battle environmental problems. Organizations such as Earthjustice sometimes go to court to stop construction projects if scientists believe that development will put an endangered species at risk. Coastline nests Even though bald eagles are making a strong return, some scientists aren't sure that these birds should be removed from the endangered species list anytime soon. To qualify for removal, a bird's population must reach a certain size, and there must be strong evidence that the numbers will stay high. For the bald eagle, there's no guarantee of continued population growth, says Bryan Watts. He's a bird ecologist at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. One problem is land development. Eagles prefer to build nests along coastlines, Watts says, often in the same places where people want to live too. "From a biological standpoint, bald eagles have recovered," Watts says. "But every year we see larger and larger tracts of land being developed. If we look 50 years down the road, we're concerned that . . . recovery will be reversed due to habitat loss." Watts also worries that taking bald eagles off the list might reduce scientific interest in the species. For 50 years, scientists have been monitoring eagle populations and gathering information about how to keep them healthy. In one recent study, William & Mary graduate student Catherine Markham, who studies eagle populations in the Chesapeake Bay, found that eagles reproduce best in certain areas of the bay where the salt concentration, or salinity, of the water is low. The Chesapeake Bay is on the eastern coast of the United States. This tells us that "low-salinity areas have to be the focus of conservation efforts," Watts says. "That's where the heart of the [bald eagle] population is." Monitoring populations Yearly monitoring has shown that a bald eagle needs to have an average of 0.7 chick per year to sustain the population, Watts says. When DDT contamination was high, that average dropped to 0.2 in the Chesapeake region. Now, the average is a healthy 1.8 chicks per year. Keeping an eye on these numbers is essential for identifying population crashes in the future. Every March in the Chesapeake Bay, for example, Watts and his colleagues fly above the treetops to count eagle nests. In May, these researchers swoop into the canopy to count eggs. They also climb trees to mark birds. This lets them track the birds' eating habits and other details of their behavior. Such monitoring is important, Watts says, because the needs of society conflict increasingly with those of endangered species. Opinions welcome The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments about the proposal to remove bald eagles from the endangered species list until May. If you have an opinion, there are several ways to make yourself heard.

Bald Eagles Forever
Bald Eagles Forever

Designed and Powered by™