An Environmental Success Story
Today's New York Times has this good news about bald eagles in the Hudson Valley of New York:
Bald eagles, among the largest birds of prey in North America, were once plentiful in New York. Before the 1900s, they used as many as 80 nesting sites, primarily in northern and western New York, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation. But by 1976, only one pair of eaglets remained. Environmentalists blamed pesticides, particularly DDT (which was banned in 1972), for interfering with the raptors’ ability to reproduce.This is good news. And I notice when I take the train from Hudson to New York City that the number of aquatic birds in the river is slowly increasing. You still cannot eat the fish from the Hudson River. And you probably shouldn't swim in it in many areas. There's a long way to go to restore this river to health. But this is a hopeful improvement.
In 1976, the state began its Bald Eagle Restoration Project in an attempt to re-establish a breeding population. Over 13 years, 198 nesting bald eagles were collected, mostly from Alaska, and taken to New York. They were reared in cages in towers in the mid-Hudson region and released.
Today, roughly 500 bald eagles winter in New York (they migrate here when the waters begin to freeze in Canada and Nova Scotia), and 143 pairs remain in the state during the summer. Dr. Koontz said that eight pairs had stayed year-round in the lower Hudson Valley.