The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened and endangered species at a Washington, D.C. ceremony in July. With 9,789 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states after just 417 nesting pairs existed in 1963, the nation's symbol was removed from the Endangered Species Act's (ESA) “threatened” list and will now be protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA). The bald eagle has never needed ESA protection in Alaska, where the population is 50,000 to 70,000 birds.

The removal of the bald eagle from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is effective 30 days after Federal Register publication. Upon delisting, federal and state wildlife agencies will continue to monitor eagles for at least five years. If it appears the bird again needs ESA protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can propose relisting. A draft monitoring plan is available for public review and comment. View it at: www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/baldeagle.htm.