The national bird’s population growth in Missouri is raising some early questions about whether it is still an endangered species in the state. Every five years the conservation department counts bald eagles in Missouri. This year, says wildlife ecologist Andy Forbes, the results are good. The department has spotted 123 nesting pairs in the state, about 50 more than there were five years ago. He estimates about 90 of those123 nesting pairs had young—averaging two, each. Not many years ago, eagles were on the verge of extinction here. They’re still on Missouri’s endangered list…although it’s proposed they be taken off the federal list. Forbes is not sure if Missouri should follow the federal action. He says no threshhold has been established to de-listing the bald eagle here. But he says federal action will make Missouri conservation officials seriously consider what action should be taken here, if any. Even if the bald eagle is removed from the endangered species list, the killing of one would still be a violation of federal law. Missouri’s eagle populatlion swells in the winter when northern bald eagles come down to places with open water so they can find fish. But quite a few are here during the summer although they’re harder to find. Look for them around lakes…or below dams…He says people should scan the trees anytime they drive over big rivers…and look for large birds in the larger sycamores or cottonwoods.
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