By Barbara Musumarra
Bald eagles are navigating a continued recovery in Kentucky. Reports made this August by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife observed 131 nests, a promising increase from the 42 nests found in 2005 and the single nest found in 1986.
In eastern Kentucky, reservoir construction has added necessary food sources for the raptors, which have historically preferred western Kentucky. Two nests were found in Daniel Boone National Forest.
Only 30 percent of hatchlings typically survive their first year because they must learn to independently fly and hunt. Climate change and the destruction of their natural habitat by man also threaten these birds across the country.
Despite these continuing challenges, in 2007 the eagle’s successful rebound was celebrated with their removal from the federal endangered species list. The 1970s ban on DDT pesticides and subsequent eagle reintroduction programs have significantly improved the bird’s population health. Tennessee has also seen successful nesting rates.