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Re: E-M:/ Now Eagles

Enviro-Mich message from Smileysmlc@aol.com

The recovery of bald eagle populations is a testament to the success and 
necessity of the Endangered Species Act.  With this and other success stories 
of recovery, no economic collapse occurred and private property rights were 
not unduly infringed.  The recovery of bald eagles, peregrine falcons and 
other species, enriches the human experience and, not surprisingly, generates 
millions of dollars to our economy.  Eagle watching, in particular, is very 
popular activity where those birds congregate at winter feeding spots.

However, regarding bald eagles in Michigan, a note of caution is also in 
order.  During the 1990s, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regularly 
monitored the nesting success of bald eagles in Michigan.  A striking finding 
was that although interior nesting sites (such as along the AuSable River) 
were producing successful broods, eagle nests located along the Great Lakes 
were having an extremely high failure rate.  The explanation was that where 
eagles were primarily eating Great Lakes fish, the chemical concentrations in 
those fish greatly increased the mortality of the young, with many eggs never 
hatching.  Still, there have been enough successful interior nest sites to 
allow the young to disperse throughout much of Michigan.  Let us hope that we 
can continue to reduce the chemical load to which we subject wildlife.

Jack Smiley
Board member, Detroit Audubon Society

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