Over the past 12 years, the number of bald eagles in the continental United States has been soaring, according to a recent report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The number has grown from about 72,000 in 2009 to more than 316,000. Just 50 years ago, America’s national bird was on the brink of extinction.
D.C. Department of Environment fisheries and wildlife biologist Dan Rauch has spent more than a decade tracking, cataloging and counting D.C.’s bird population and has seen the numbers surge.
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“The bald eagle is really a true conservation story,” Rauch said. “Protections like the bald eagle protection act and the banning of DDT gave them a chance to take hold and their numbers to grow.”
For generations, seeing a bald eagle fly overhead was a rare occurrence. Even more rare were eaglets hatching in the wild and much less near a big city.
Bald eagles aren’t the only birds making a big comeback in the area, the raven has also returned.
“To see them come back speaks to the greater health of the environment,” Rauch said.
For those looking to spot a bald eagle, Rauch suggests to look anywhere near a river or wetland.