One evening, almost a decade ago, I had dinner with some friends of my parents, who own a home high above the Connecticut River in Essex. I remember standing on their balcony and, as the sun set and we looked over the water, a bald eagle slowly worked its way up and down the shore, searching for fish. That was the first bald eagle I had seen in the Northeast (really, the first wild bald eagle I had seen outside of Alaska). I was reminded of the eagles in Connecticut by an AP story in today's Newsday about the bird-watchers who flock to the Housatonic River's Shepaug Dam each winter to sea the bald eagles congregate. Like their cousins in Essex, Connecticut is now home to a flourishing eagle population.
And Connecticut is not the only place in the lower forty-eight where eagles now thrive. With the exception of some parts of the southwest, where bald eagles still struggle, eagles are doing remarkably well. In fact, fittingly enough, I recently saw a bald eagle cruising along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.
Things are going so well for the bald eagle that they were taken off the federal list of endangered and threatened species earlier this year. While bald eagles will remain protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the eagle's recovery is inspiring evidence of what can be accomplished when people put their mind to conserving wildlife. Here's hoping we see more stories like the bald eagle's in the coming year.