Eagles: A Soaring Success - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/19/07

Eagles: A Soaring Success

High above the ground, a three year old eagles' nest has become a quite the tourist attraction in Smith County.

"I've seen them out here when they've had the babies, and the babies have been up, and you can see the babies with the binoculars," says eagle enthusiast Diane Nelson.

Year after year, the same breeding pair return to their nest to have their fledglings, and there is something about them that makes people want to catch a glimpse.

Nick Rognlie with the Tyler Audubon Society explains, "I think being the national bird, the size of them and just the sheer beauty of it."

In 1963, the bird was in grave danger with only 417 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states. They were added to the endangered species list in 1972. Three decades later, they are back in full force, more than seventy thousand strong in America.

"They're just doing tremendous right now," says Game Warden Chris Green with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

As an endangered species, it is illegal for anyone to cut down eagles' nests or disturb its surroundings, even after the birds have left.  But that will soon change.

Pointing to an eagles' nest on private property, Green explains.

"If this gentleman wants to go on his private property and clear cut all his timber, then as far as I know, he's going to be able to do what he wants in the off season."

That has some conservationists concerned, because habitat destruction was a big factor in the eagles' initial decline, but Green expects the birds will be fine.

"They will adapt and adjust, and hopefully, we will have enough timber around where they can continue to nest up high in these trees," says Green.

In part, because the birds are a U.S. symbol, the eagles will remain protected under two other laws.   Green says his department will continue pursuing charges against anyone who harms them.

The eagles will be removed from the endangered species 'threatened' list by June 29th.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com  

 

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