Local News

Jordan Lake Home to Once-Endangered Bald Eagles

Posted July 4, 2007 6:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT

— Johnny Lundy has caught a lot in his years fishing at Jordan Lake, but he has never caught a glimpse of America's national bird.

"I've been coming out here since '95, and I have never seen a bald eagle out here," he said.

But the chances are getting better that he'll see one soon.

Once wiped out by hunters and DDT poisoning (DDT is an insecticide widely used in the 1940s to 1970s to control mosquitoes), the American bald eagle is thriving -- so much so it was removed last week from the protection of the Endangered Species Act, capping a four-decade struggle for recovery.

"I wouldn't mind, I like to see birds," Lundy said. "The mystic -- how they soar, I used think they would be in trees taller than these around here, That's why I'm surprised to hear there are so many around this lake."

Jordan Lake is home to a half-dozen or so nesting pairs, and that number is boosted when bald eagles are treated and then released along the lake's shore line.

Nina Dulaney, who vacations every year at the lake, has had good luck spotting the birds in their nesting grounds.

"They would sit on their nest, you could see them sitting on their nest," Dulaney said. "They had a nest in the trees where the trees are real sparse. Nothing could get to them."

Even though the birds are no longer considered endangered, they remain protected by other federal laws, such as the Golden Eagle Protection Act, which forbids anyone from caging the animal or its eggs. It also prevents any construction near a nest.

Now that their numbers are rising, Dulaney hopes more families will get the chance to see bald eagles in the wild.

'It's a beautiful bird, it's the greatest bird," she said.

But for Lundy, the great symbol of this country, remains a great fish tale of the one that got away.

"I would like to see'em," he said. "I like to see the birds."