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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 02:20 PM EST  

Here is another related article on the Arizona bald eagle!

February 24, 2010 – Fish and Wildlife Service Removes Endangered Species Act Protection From Arizona's Desert Nesting Bald Eagles

The Southwest’s desert rivers harbor a uniquely adapted population of bald eagles known as desert nesting bald eagles — geographically, behaviorally, and even biologically different from other American bald eagles. No other bald eagle population nests under such conditions of high heat and low humidity or suffers such high mortality. But “nesting” may be a misnomer these days: primarily due to habitat loss, only a few dozen breeding pairs are known to remain on Earth.

For three decades, desert nesters were closely managed as the distinct population they are, bringing the population back from three reproducing nests in 1970 — truly the brink of extinction — to 43 breeding pairs by 2006. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was preparing to delist the bald eagle nationally; to make sure desert nesters weren’t a casualty of that delisting, the Center and allies submitted a petition, in 2004, to separate them from their thriving counterparts in other states and thereby protect them as a “distinct population segment” under the Endangered Species Act.

But in a stunning reversal of its own policy, the Fish and Wildlife Service in August 2006 denied the petition — meaning the desert nesters would likely have been doomed had we and our allies not stepped in with a new lawsuit. In 2008, a federal judge ruled in our favor in that case, deciding that the 2007 bald eagle delisting did not support the Service’s denial of our 2004 petition — in fact, the court declared, the agency’s 2006 decision was a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Devastatingly, in February 2010 the Service yet again denied protection to the eagle. We’ll keep fighting to make sure this unique bird doesn’t get pushed out of its Southwest habitat altogether.


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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 02:25 PM EST  

AND last article on the issue and a short background on the Arizona desert eagle.

For Immediate Release, February 24, 2010

Contact: Dr. Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity, (602) 799-3275

Fish and Wildlife Service Removes Endangered Species Act Protection From
Arizona's Desert Nesting Bald Eagles

PHOENIX, Ariz.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is acting to remove Endangered Species Act protection from Arizona's desert nesting bald eagles. Almost two years after U.S. District Court Judge Mary Murguia’s March 5, 2008 rejection of the agency's last attempt in 2007, a similar decision by Fish and Wildlife has been released for publication in tomorrow's Federal Register. Today the agency also filed a request with the U.S. District Court to remove an injunction currently in place to protect the eagle.

“We conclude that the best information available does not indicate that persistence in the ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert Area is important to the species as a whole,” the new Fish and Wildlife decision states.

But no recognized bald eagle expert agrees with that assertion, as no expert agreed with the Service’s earlier 2007 decision to remove protection. “The science and the law have not changed, but sadly, neither have the politics,” says Dr. Robin Silver with the Center for Biological Diversity. “If the decision stands, it will be a death sentence for our desert nesting bald eagles. We’re anxious to get back into court to save these magnificent birds.”

On January 4, 2007, the Center and Maricopa Audubon challenged in court Fish and Wildlife's August 2006 attempt to remove protection, and protection for the eagles was reinstated. In her 2008 order reversing the agency’s attempt to remove protection from the eagles, Judge Murguia concluded:

“…it appears that FWS participants in the July 18, 2006 conference call received ‘marching orders’ and were directed to find an analysis that fit with a negative 90-day finding on the DPS status of the desert bald eagle. These facts cause the Court to have no confidence in the objectivity of the agency’s decision making process in its August 30, 2006 90-day finding.”

Today's Fish and Wildlife Service decision is similarly unsupported by science.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Tonto Apache Tribe, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community all joined the earlier lawsuit to help protect the desert nesting bald eagle; all are committed to do so again.

Background on the eagle

The desert nesting bald eagle is an icon of the Southwest's desert rivers, and only about 50 breeding pairs survive. The population is reproductively, geographically, biologically, and behaviorally distinct from all other bald eagle populations, since no other bald eagle population occupies habitat so hot and dry – an adaptation that’s critically important as global warming becomes increasingly problematic for species survival. No other population of bald eagles will move in if this population disappears, and that will result in a significant gap in the overall bald-eagle range.

Unique and significant populations and their habitat qualify for Endangered Species Act protection with a designation as a “distinct population segment” or DPS. For more than three decades, desert nesting bald eagles have been recognized as a unique population, different from bald eagles elsewhere.

Desert eagles experience high levels of mortality of both adults and juveniles and are facing increasing threats, including Prescott's efforts to remove water from the Upper Verde River. Independent of increasing threats to habitat, population viability studies show likelihood of this population’s extinction within the next century without increased protection.

Also, the desert eagle population is highly dependent on protection by heroic on-the-ground chaperones from the Nest Watch program. From 1983 to 2005, the NestWatch program has been responsible for saving 9.4 percent of all young eagles fledged in Arizona. In the areas of direct NestWatch protection, higher levels of productivity are observed. Breeding areas around the core Salt and Verde River confluence area display higher reproductive rates and less nestling mortality than breeding areas elsewhere.

Most of the NestWatch money comes from mandatory Endangered Species Act funding. Three of the largest funders, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Salt River Project, have already expressed doubts about continuation of their contribution if Endangered Species Act protection is removed from these vulnerable birds.


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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 02:31 PM EST  

There seems to be a lot of sad eagle news today! Detailed stories to follow.

Lead Poisoning Kills Three Condors, Four Eagles; Poisons Grizzly Bears

We're sad to report that three endangered California condors -- a female, her yearling chick, and a young male -- have died of lead poisoning in northern Arizona. Two of the birds foraged extensively in Utah and likely were poisoned there by feeding on animals shot with lead bullets. California has made significant progress in banning lead bullets, and Arizona has made some, but Utah lags far behind in addressing the problem.

Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death in California condors and threatens many other species as well. This winter four bald eagles in southern Alberta, Canada, died from lead poisoning; two of the birds had lead concentrations five and nine times the fatal level. And a recent study in Yellowstone showed that grizzly bears have high blood-lead levels during hunting season from feeding on wounded elk shot with lead bullets.


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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 02:37 PM EST  

Calgary Herald, February 15, 2010
Lead poisoning blamed in death of four bald eagles in Alberta
By Jamie Komarnicki

CALGARY - Four bald eagles have died from suspected lead poisoning in southern Alberta, likely one of the lasting consequences of using ammunition made of the toxic metal, conservationists say.

The eagles were brought to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation near Madden, about 60 kilometres north of Calgary. They arrived within about a month of each other this winter, said wildlife biologist Dianne Wittner.

The four sick eagles were found in separate locations in southern Alberta, she said. They were weak and thin, and died within days of arriving at the hospital.

An obvious cause of death wasn't apparent in any of the cases, but the biologists suspected lead poisoning could be to blame and ordered further tests.

"We were doing everything we could to figure out what was going on," said Wittner.

The post-mortem tests confirmed the conservationists' fears of lead poisoning. In at least two of the cases, lab results showed lead levels five times and nine times the lethal level.

As birds of prey, eagles often feed on waterfowl or game carcasses left behind by hunters.

Legislation in the 1990s banned the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl, but the problem persists, said Wittner.

"We think we're a fairly lead-free environment, but we're not," said Wittner.

"For every eagle we try to get in here to save, who knows how many are out there dying.

"It's very alarming."

Further research is needed to determine the lasting effects of lead, Wittner noted.

The conservation organization hopes to launch a two-year study of the issue.

Cases of lead poisoning can be treated if caught early enough. But often by the time the eagles are sick enough to catch, it's too difficult for the biologists to save them, Wittner said.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald


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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, February 25 2010 @ 02:41 PM EST  

While this article isn't about eagles, it is part of the whole above story and about their cousins the condor.

Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2010
Lead poisoning blamed for deaths of three California condors in Arizona
By The Associated Press

Three rare California condors in northern Arizona died last month because they ingested lead pellets while feeding on carrion, according to test results released Monday.

The deaths from lead poisoning are the first in three years among condors in Arizona and Utah, condor recovery program officials said. The Peregrine Fund recovered the bodies of a female condor and her year-old chick from the Grand Canyon and a young male from the Arizona-Utah border last month.

That the birds were foraging in southern Utah presents a challenge for recovery program officials, who now must convince hunters there to stop using lead ammunition.

"We have to remain optimistic because we've seen such progress in Arizona, and I guess what it means is we have more work to do," said Chris Parish, who oversees the release of the condors in Arizona for the fund.

Utah already is educating hunters about the effects that lead ammunition has on condors. The birds feed on dead animals, often big game killed by hunters or the entrails left behind when they are field dressed.

High levels of lead can shut down a condor's digestive system, causing them to starve to death.

Utah's program is modeled after one in Arizona, which asks hunters to voluntarily use lead-free ammunition. Utah plans to give coupons for free non-lead ammunition to hunters in certain areas.

"Utah sportsmen are conservation-minded," Jim Parrish, nongame avian coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said in a release. "We're confident they'll step up to the challenge and that our program, combined with the highly successful program in Arizona, will keep the condor population healthy and allow it to grow."

Condors once numbered in the thousands across North America but were nearly extinct by the early 1980s from the effects of hunting, lead poisoning and habitat encroachment. The final 22 were captured in California and a breeding program was started.

There are about 350 condors alive today, with about half in captive breeding programs in California, Arizona and Mexico.

Since the reintroduction program begin in Arizona in 1996, 45 condors have died -- 15 of them from lead poisoning.

Environmental groups pushed for a nationwide ban on lead ammunition, similar to regulations in place in California.

Jeff Miller of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity said the Arizona population continually is exposed to high levels of lead and it was just a matter of time before some ate enough to be killed.

"It's tragic, but it was predictable," he said. "Until we come up with an effective way to keep lead out of the food chain, we're going to keep seeing these periodic tragic events."

Kathy Sullivan, condor program coordinator for Arizona's Department of Game and Fish, said the state's program had a success rate between 80% and 90% over three years. The true test, she said, is in whether Utah hunters join the voluntary effort.

"Until we have similar participation from hunters in Utah, we're really not going to know even how effective our program is," she said. "The bird could eat in Arizona one week and then in Utah the next."

Copyright 2009


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By: MaryF (online) on Thursday, March 04 2010 @ 02:40 PM EST  


This is a very interesting eagle video!....from Good Morning America.

YAY!! my very first posh link!!Clapping


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By: jkr (offline) on Saturday, March 06 2010 @ 10:46 PM EST  

Mary after I watched the video I found the story as well.

Click on image to download

SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- The American symbol of freedom found itself fighting for its own life on Tuesday.

A bald eagle was grounded along the waters of Pine Lake. A possible mate, perhaps confused, kept watch nearby.

Neighbors rushed to free the frantic bird, which had gotten tangled up in a rope hooked to a dock. The eagle appeared anxious.

That's when Tim Brown stepped in to work his magic.

Brown, a raptor bird specialist, whistled what he calls "an eagle song," and apparently the big bird found comfort in that, if not a bit confused by the sounds. Brown ever so gently draped a blanket over the eagle's head.

"When you hood a bird or put (something) over their eyes or so forth, they calm right down," Brown said. "See how the bird is listening to our voices? Calmed down."

It took a few minutes to unwind the rope that had tightened around one of the eagle's talons, but the bird let Brown work it out.

"Hey buddy, sorry you're all wet there," Brown said.

A dead duck was found in the eagle's grasp, apparently its dinner for the night.

"That grip there -- they're very powerful," said Brown.

The eagle likely got into trouble bringing its prey ashore. The bird, which appeared to be 6 or 7 years old, was taken to a veterinarian's office in Bellevue to be checked out, and then transferred to the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Arlington.

The potential of a broken bone was the biggest concern.

"I'm 99.9 percent sure this bird is OK, but it's nice to get these things checked out," said Brown.

For area residents, seeing Brown work proved to be an amazing opportunity.

"Absolutely awesome," said Polly Ek. "He whistled and calmed the bird down. It was like watching Doctor Doolittle; the bird immediately relaxed. He said that the bird knew he was a friend."

On Wednesday morning, officials at the Sarvey Wildlife Center said the eagle would likely be in rehabilitation there for about a week.

They said the animal has bruising on its leg where the rope was tangled, but otherwise the bird is looking healthy.

Officials plan to release the eagle back in the Pine Lake area.



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By: soph9 (offline) on Tuesday, March 09 2010 @ 11:54 PM EST  

follow up to jkr's post above is the video and there is a link to the story of this eagles release!!!!!!!!ClappingClappingClapping

What a great Story click here


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