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Bald Eagle to be Removed from Endangered Species List

Growing Population Heralds Conservation Success

American Bird Conservancy

(Washington, D.C. – June 27, 2007)
The administration will announce tomorrow that the Bald Eagle will be removed from the Endangered Species Act’s list of threatened species.

 “All Americans have reason to be proud. Our nation’s symbol, the Bald Eagle is once again thriving,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy (ABC).  “The conservation of the Bald Eagle is a true success story and a reflection of the concern Americans have for the environment. We strongly support delisting the eagle.”

Although the Bald Eagle is our national symbol, eagles were hunted and poisoned until the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was passed in 1940.  By this time, only a small population remained, and eagles had completely disappeared from many states.  By 1963, only 417 pairs of Bald Eagles remained in the lower 48 states.  Then, DDT caused the remaining populations outside of Alaska to plummet.

“The Endangered Species Act works,” said Fenwick. “Because of this safety net, a flourishing legacy of Bald Eagles can be passed on to future generations.”

Bald Eagles were declared an endangered species in 1967 under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Congress banned most uses of DDT in 1972 and the eagle began to rebound. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) also stepped up efforts to protect habitat and reintroduce eagles in areas where they had been extirpated. 

FWS changed the Bald Eagle’s status from endangered to threatened in 1995 to reflect its growing numbers.  The Bald Eagle population in the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia is now 11,040 pairs.  This is a nearly 1,300-pair increase from the 2006 estimate of 9,789 pairs according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

While the Bald Eagle is perhaps the ESA’s most famous success story, 44% of bird species listed under the Act have seen increases in their populations.  American Birds: An Endangered Species Success Story, a report by ABC, highlights many conservation triumphs, with nine species having experienced more than tenfold population increases since they were first protected by the Act. These include the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Aleutian Canada Goose, California Condor, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike, and Whooping Crane.

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act will be the principal safeguard for Bald Eagles after they are removed from the endangered species list.  FWS recently issued new regulations to ensure that eagle populations are monitored and that they will be sufficiently protected after delisting. 

“ABC commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for working cooperatively with national conservation organizations in ensuring that Bald Eagles, though no longer on the threatened species list, will receive appropriate federal protection so their numbers will continue to grow,” said Fenwick.


American Bird Conservancy is the only 501(c)(3) organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts to safeguard the rarest bird species, restore habitats, and reduce threats, while building capacity in the conservation movement. ABC is the voice for birds, ensuring that they are adequately protected; that sufficient funding is available for bird conservation; and that land is protected and properly managed to maintain viable habitat.  ABC is a membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.


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