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WJBD - Local News - World Bird Sanctuary Shows Off Thriving Carlyle Lake Eagles

McGuire the Eagle looking fierce during the event.

World Bird Sanctuary Shows Off Thriving Carlyle Lake Eagles

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The bald Eagles are out of danger of extinction and their population is growing across much of the country.  That was the word from Trina Whitener of the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis.  She presented a program on Eagles at Carlyle High School for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the weekend.  Those in attendance were then guided to two locations on Carlyle Lake where they might see the Eagles for themselves.  Whitener says there are several reasons for the turn around for the once endangered national symbol.

"Great improvements to habitat and water quality, if they have a good place to live they'll come and live. Doing that and changing the public's view of predator species really helped. Getting rid of environmental toxins such as DDT, which nearly made Eagles go extinct" Whitener said.

Whitener noted the DDT didn't kill the Eagles outright, but caused the shells on their eggs to become very thin which broke as the parents tried to hatch the eggs.  She believes education and getting people excited about Bald Eagles is the key to their continuing recovery.  One of the remaining problems for the Eagles and other wildlife is the lead shot used in shotgun shells that can cause liver damage.  Eagles mate for life and have one of the largest birds nest of any birds.   Eagles often return to the same nest or area each year.  They live to 20 to 25 years old in the wild and 40 to 50 years in captivity.  The World Bird Sanctuary normally rehabilitates about 10 eagles a year, most of which are returned to the wild.  The number is up this year due to the extreme cold weather.  The annual Midwestern Bald Eagle Survey at Carlyle Lake this year counted 35 adult Eagles and 10 young Eagles in the three-county area.

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