When America adopted the bald eagle as the national symbol in 1782, there may have been 100,000 nesting eagles. But the eagle population declined, in part due to pesticides.
By 1963, with only 487 nesting pairs remaining, our national symbol was near extinction. Bald eagles were listed as an endangered species in 1967, and that afforded them protection. In 1979, the government started the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey to establish an index of the bald eagle population in the lower 48 states.
This episode of Playa Country is the third in a five-part series on citizen science. It originally aired on High Plains Public Radio on Tuesday, 6/24/14.