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The Return Of The Bald Eagle
An Inspirational American Success Story

Challenger Flying Over CapitalFor over 200 years, the Bald Eagle has served as the proud symbol of the United States and has stood for independence and the timeless ideals of excellence and integrity.

When Columbus discovered America in 1492, Bald Eagles ranged and flourished in abundant numbers throughout North America.

During the Second Continental Congress in 1782, our founding fathers adopted the Bald Eagle as the central image in the official emblem of our new nation. At that historical moment, as many as 100,000 of these birds could be found nesting in the expansive territory that is now the lower 48 states.

As the new frontier was conquered and our country developed, the Bald Eagle population gradually declined due to our own carelessness and lack of awareness.

Indescriminate shooting, destruction of critical habitat, and widespread use of the pesticide DDT on crops eventually took their toll and caused near extinction of the bird. By the early 1960s, it had become a rare and endangered species.

However, our people and government were resolved to save it and worked together for decades to reach that goal. Thanks to the strict legal protection provided by the "Endangered Species Act of 1972" and the recovery efforts of many concerned and dedicated Americans, the Bald Eagle was given a second chance.

In 2007, experts projected there were approximately 10,000 nesting pairs in the contiguous United States. Bald Eagles are thriving again in every state of the Union (except Hawaii, where they never existed).

Our National Bird was downlisted from its "Endangered" status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1995. It remained listed as "Threatened" under the ESA until June 28, 2007. Its primary protection was then changed to the "Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act" (BGEPA). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service defined the word "disturb" under the BGEPA to more clearly protect both bald and golden eagles, their nests and nesting habitat.

The majestic Bald Eagle has certainly made a dramatic recovery to our nation's lands and skies, but it is imperative that all Americans remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye over its progress. We must continue to protect this great bird and its natural habitat for many more generations to enjoy.

Federal and state agencies have transferred to the public more responsibility for the preservation of the Bald Eagle. The "American Eagle Foundation" is a nonprofit citizens' effort dedicated to conducting programs that will help ensure a secure and healthy future for this precious national treasure.

Together, we can keep America's living symbol of freedom flying strong well into the 21st century and beyond.

American Eagle Heroes

We give special thanks to all those caring people, corporations, organizations and agencies whose contributions and hard work helped bring the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction.

Please let us know if you know a person, organization or company that has contributed significantly to the recovery and protection of the Bald Eagle and should be included in the listing below. Contact us at: EagleMail@Eagles.Org


  Organizations & Agencies


Robert M. Hatcher
Tom Murphy
Dr. Mitchell Byrd
Dr. Steve Sherrod
Alan Jenkins
Dr. Patrick Redig
Doris Maeger
Terry Ingram
John Turner
Peter Nye
Recee Collins
Dave Garcelon
Jody Millar
Linda Walker
Jane Gulley
Rachel Carson
C. L. Broley
Mollie Beattie
Ron Lambertson
Fred Bagley
Walter Crawford
Sergej Postupalski
Jack Swedberg
Karen Steenhof
Dr. Jim Fraser
Teryl Grubb
John Mathisen
Dr. Al Harmata
Dr. Stanley Wiemeyer
Dr. Jim Carpenter
Ron Odom
Dr. Don Hammer
Paul Nickerson
Mark McCollough
Dan James
Brian Milsap
Dr. Michael Collopy
Don Wood
Petra Wood
M. V. Stalmaster
Dr. Tom Cade
Mark Fuller
Mike Jacobson
Robert Mesta
Dr. Jim Grier
Larry Niles
Jim Ozier
Al Louis Cecere
John Stokes
Amy Clark
Kay Morrison
Bill Voelker

And the many past and present members of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bald Eagle Recovery Teams.

U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service

University of Minnesota Raptor Center

Wildlife Center of Virginia

Bureau of Land Management

U. S. Forest Service

American Eagle Foundation (formerly National Foundation to Protect America's Eagles)

World Bird Sanctuary

National Wildlife Federation

National Audubon Society

The Conservation Fund

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation

Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary

Florida Audubon Raptor Center


Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

George M. Sutton Avian Research Center

And Fish and wildlife agencies in 49 states, and numerous rehabilitators, fish and wildlife agency employees, zoos, educators, entertainers, land owners, volunteers, veterinarians and individual funding contributors nationwide.

Miller Brewing Company



Phillips Petroleum



Eagle Rare Bourbon


Northwest Airlines

American Airlines

Emory Air Freight

And all other corporations that have been involved over the years in various aspects of eagle recovery through funding support, public awareness campaigns, eagle transport and other cooperative efforts.

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