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America's bird tracked in region

Annual eagle count finds reason for encouragement

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January 18, 2010
The eagle has landed, and keeps doing so in the Last Green Valley.

Last month, several regional outdoors enthusiasts braved the winter chill in hopes of laying eyes on bald eagles, birds that were once well on the way to extinction but have since become a success story of the Endangered Species Act. In previous years, similar, basically random attempts only saw a few, but this trip sighted a dozen.

According to Last Green Valley's Bill Reid, state records only logged one eagle along the Quinebaug River in 2009, "but we saw them frequently in the summer, when people were paddling the Source to the Sea [route]. After that, we thought it'd be a good idea to create a Quinebaug River team to help raise awareness of the amazing natural resources we have here."

For the eagles, the return from the brink has been a roughly 40-year-long process. Conservationists first started noticing the species was in decline around 1940, partly due to 200 years of farmers' shooting them in the belief they attacked domestic livestock, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service online pamphlet states. Later research, including that by Rachel Carson, also implicated habitat destruction and the use of DDT.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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