Wild Animals/Bald Eagles

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Question
I actually have a few questions, if that's okay. I have to write an essay on eagles, and I need answers.
1.Why did bald eagles get endangered?
2. WHEN did they?
3. How big can a bald eagle get?
4. How many nests do bald eagles make?
5.Are bald eagles going to get off the endangered list any time soon?
6. What is punishment for harming or killing a bald eagle?
7.About how many nesting pairs are in the U.S?
Thanks so much, and if you can't answer, it's fine. I chose you because you seemed very professional, and it seemed that you had a wide knowledge of animals. Thanks again!!

Answer
Dear Polly

Thank you for your questions and your kind comments. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Population_decline_and_recovery and http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/birds/bald-eagle/ say that there are several factors involved. These include the use of the pesticide DDT, which interfered with the bird's calcium metabolism, making the bird sterile or unable to lay healthy eggs. Females laid eggs that were too brittle to withstand the weight of a brooding adult, so it was nearly impossible for the eggs to hatch. Other factors include a widespread loss of suitable habitat, as well as shooting. Many hunters killed the eagles as they thought that eagles grab young lambs and children with their talons, but lamb predation is rare and human predation is thought to be non-existent). Eagles are also killed by power-line electrocution, collisions in flight, oil, lead and mercury pollution and by human and predator intrusion at nests.
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Population_decline_and_recovery mentions the mid 20th century and as the Bald Eagle Protection Act came into force in 1940 the U.S.A., people must have noticed that the a decline in the population before this.
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle and http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/birds/bald-eagle/ give maximum figures of 109 cm (43 in) for the body length, 2.4 m (8 ft) for the wingspan and 6.5 kg (14 lb)for the weight.http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.uk/animals/birds/bald-eagle/
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Reproduction says that a nest is added to each year and may be used for 34 years, but it is usually used for about 5 years. As the eagle doesn't breed until it is at least 4 years old and may live for 28 years, this means that it could make about 5 nests in a lifetime, if each nest lasts about 5 years.
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle says the bald eagle was removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species on July 12, 1995 and transferred to the list of threatened species. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007.
6. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/protect/laws.html says that the bald eagle is still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, despite being delisted under the Endangered Species Act. This law provides for the protection of the bald eagle by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit. The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. The fine doubles for an organization. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act.
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Population_decline_and_recovery gives a total population of about 200,000, but the number of nesting pairs must be under half this figure, which includes young birds. http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/ gives an estimate of 9,789 breeding pairs.

Hopefully you can use the websites and similar information to develop each answer.

Good luck with the essay

All the best

Jonathan  

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Jonathan Wright

Expertise

I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.

Experience

I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

Organizations
WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Publications
Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

Education/Credentials
BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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