On the Radio: Our national bird’s troubled history


Photo by Larry Meade, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s discusses the troubled history and promising future of the bald eagle in Iowa.

Did you know that less than 40 years ago there were zero bald eagles nesting in Iowa?

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

The bald eagle has had a difficult history in both Iowa and the rest of the nation. In fact, there were zero nesting pairs in Iowa before 1977, but the state’s bald eagle population has skyrocketed to 210 pairs today.

Nationally, their population in the lower 48 states dropped from 100,000 to 4,000 between the time of European settlement at and 1960. This decline is likely due to direct human disturbance, habitat loss and pesticide use, such as DDT.

Despite this recovery, the bald eagle is still a fragile species. The DNR encourages hunters to choose an alternative to lead shot, as many bald eagles die each year from lead poisoning.

For more information on conserving Iowa’s bald eagle population, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank You.

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