Bald eagle comeback shows Harrisburg got it right for once

Wildlife News

By Paul Carpenter
The Morning Call

July 09, 2013
 
In%202005%2C%20the%20Pennsylvania%20Game%20Commission%20released%20this%20photo%20of%20nesting%20bald%20eagles%20to%20show%20how%20the%20birds%20were%20making%20a%20comeback.%20Last%20week%2C%20the%20commission%20said%20there%20now%20are%20252%20such%20nests.%20%28Hal%20Korber%2C%20PENNSYLVANIA%20GAME%20COMMISSION%29
In2005, the Pennsylvania Game Commission released this photo of nesting bald eagles to show how the birds were making a comeback. Last week, the commission said there now are 252 such nests.  (Hal Korber, PENNSYLVANIA GAME COMMISSION)
 

In the 1950s, big truck-mounted contraptions belched clouds of DDT up and down residential streets, especially in the South, to get rid of mosquitoes and other pests.

In New York State, my father and his brother had a small side business using a somewhat smaller contraption on the bed of Uncle Chuck's pickup truck to spray fruit trees with DDT and other chemicals. I used to help my dad with the spraying. It worked, too. Neighborhoods were free of mosquitoes for weeks and those trees bore beautiful fruit, although I'm not sure it was a good idea to eat it unwashed.

Unfortunately, DDT worked in other ways, too. For one thing, as it made its way through the food chain, it caused the shells of bald eagle eggs to be so thin the parents would break them while trying to hatch their offspring — to say nothing of the effects of DDT on human health.  By 1963, America's national symbol was down to about 400 nests throughout the 48 continuous states. A ban on DDT began in 1972, but by 1980, Pennsylvania had a total of just three pairs of nesting bald eagles.

 

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