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Fly Like An Eagle

By: Eugenia Jones

Five bald eagles spotted along local areas of Cumberland and Big South Fork Rivers during statewide survey.

Earlier this month, those looking locally for bald eagles along the Cumberland and Big South Fork Rivers during the 2015 statewide bald eagle survey were greeted with below freezing temperatures and five magnificent eagles.

This year’s survey saw two teams travelling by boat as they looked for bald eagles from the Sawyer area on the Cumberland River to Burnside and then back south on the Big South Fork River to Turkey Creek in McCreary County.  Both teams of Department of Fish and Wildlife staff were rewarded with sightings of bald eagles in both counties during their coverage of approximately fifty miles of river waterway in McCreary and Pulaski Counties.

Designated as our country’s national emblem in 1782, the majestic bald eagle, with its distinctive white head, disappeared as a breeding bird in Kentucky and elsewhere during the l960s.  The disappearance of the magnificent birds was due in large part to the use of pesticides, particularly DDT.

With the ban of DDT in the early seventies and reintroduction efforts with bald eagles in the 1970s and ‘80s, Kentucky saw a steady increase in the number of nesting territories of bald eagles.  Although still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Kentucky’s bald eagles were officially delisted from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

While sightings of bald eagles in McCreary County are still not abundant, they are becoming more common.

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