Environmental Expert Speaks Out About Resurgence of the Bald Eagle in America

by Amy Myers

For more than 30 years, the future of bald eagles in the United States was questionable at best, and many feared that our national emblem would be a part of history. Thankfully, though, the crucial creatures have rebounded from their endangered status since 2007, and in order to celebrate this accomplishment, environmental expert Jack E. Davis penned the species’ story in his new book, The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird. Not surprisingly, the work is gaining a lot of attention for the author and appreciation for the animal.

Initially, there was a lot of pushback against making the bald eagle the national emblem, mostly because of the bird’s “brazen” nature. The eagle’s tendency to snatch younglings and steal other predators’ bounties made them seem too intimidating.

Ultimately, though, the stoic and fearless bird of prey won the popular vote and became synonymous with American pride. However, even with this treasured title, our bald eagle populations still faced a tremendous battle, and for decades, their numbers rapidly declined. 1970 was the animal’s low point, with only 400 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states.

Since then, though, our country has been working hard to ensure that the species can continue to thrive for generations to come. Now, more than 50 years later, this number has jumped to 316,700.

“We’re seeing eagles in numbers and in frequencies today that we didn’t see 10, 15, certainly not 20 years ago,” Davis, who is also an environmental history professor at the University of Florida, told Fox News Digital at the recent Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve pushed the bald eagle to the brink of extinction twice,” he continued. “But we redeemed ourselves and brought it back.”

Environmental Expert Explains Why Bald Eagles Were the Right Choice for Our Nation’s Emblem

Despite the bird’s aggressive nature in finding food, Davis pointed out the bald eagles actually have a strong sense of “family values” because they mate for life, fervently protect their young and immediately repair their nests if there’s any damage.

“And they take care of their young with such devotion that when they leave the nest at around 18 to 20 weeks, [the young birds] often weigh more than their parents,” he added.

Not to mention, its personality naturally represents what Americans love most about their nation: “strength and courage and freedom.”

“It’s a truly all-American bird,” Davis said. 

Of course, it also helps that the U.S. is the only natural home to bald eagles. In fact, according to the University of Florida professor, “The bald eagle, in the wild, lives nowhere else outside of North America, so it’s a good choice for the front of the Great Seal of the United States.”

“They’re really remarkable birds to watch but also to write about,” he said.