On June 20th, 1782, the bald eagle was chosen as the symbol of the United States. In June, 2007 the bald eagle was finally removed from the Endangered Species list after more than thirty years. To commemorate these remarkable events, June 20th has been designated Bald Eagle Day.
The bald eagle is one of America’s great success stories. Many can still remember a time when the sight of a bald eagle was a rare sight indeed. In 1963 there were just 417 nesting pairs throughout the lower 48 states, an all-time low. By 1972 there was just one nesting pair of bald eagles along the entire Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge - a stretch of more than 260 miles of prime bald eagle habitat.
Bald eagle recovery programs at the state and federal levels, as well as the actions of average Americans, made possible the resurgence of this magnificent bird. After banning DDT and strengthening habitat protections, the US government listed the bald eagle under the newly created Endangered Species Act. Improvements in water quality in lakes and rivers improved the chances for bald eagles and many other creatures in the aquatic food chain. In the 1970’s and 80’s, state and federal agencies tracked remaining breeding bald eagles and banded young eaglets to keep accurate counts of successful nest sites. The National Eagle Center’s own eagle ambassador, Harriet, was one of the young eaglets banded in 1981 as a part of Wisconsin’s bald eagle recovery program.
In June, 2007 the bald eagle was officially removed from the Endangered Species list after populations returned to healthy levels. Today, bald eagle populations remain healthy across their range. In the state of Minnesota today, there are more than 2,300 nesting pairs of bald eagles. This year marks the five year anniversary of this remarkable recovery.
The National Eagle Center is celebrating Bald Eagle Day and the amazing recovery of the bald eagle with special events on June 20th, 2012. The National Eagle Center is an interpretive center dedicated to environmental stewardship and education about eagles and the Mississippi River watershed. Home to rescued bald and golden eagles, the National Eagle Center offers live eagle programs, interactive exhibits and views of wild eagles over the Mississippi River in Wabasha, MN.
Bald Eagle Day events at the National Eagle Center
All day - Kids get banded like Harriet!
Our oldest eagle ambassador, Harriet, was banded back in 1981, when she was just an eaglet in the nest. To celebrate the eagle banding and research that played a part in the recovery of the bald eagle, all kids 16 and younger will receive a genuine eagle band with paid admission to the National Eagle Center. (While supplies last)
12pm - Meet the Eagles4Kids experts!
For the last two years, the National Eagle Center has been the educational partner of some very ambitious 3rd-4th grade students. Mike Lawrence’s class in the Blair-Taylor school district installed a camera on a nearby eagle’s nest and blogs about the activities they observe.
This year, two young eagles are growing fast and are getting ready to fledge. These 3rd and 4th grade students haven’t missed a minute of it and they’ve become eagle experts. Students from the this year’s class will be here for a brief program to share what they’ve learned from their Eagles4Kids nest camera project. 2pm - Ron Eckstein, the man who banded Harriet!
Dedicated conservation and wildlife managers like Ron Eckstein were a big part of the remarkable success story of the bald eagle. In thw 1980’s Ron Eckstein was part of the Wisconsin DNR’s bald eagle recovery program. In fact, Ron was the man who actually banded our very own eagle ambassador, Harriet, back in 1981. Ron Eckstein will be at the National Eagle Center to tell the story of banding Harriet and his part in the amazing recovery of the bald eagle.