Once plentiful across North America, bald eagle numbers dropped to extremely low numbers by the 1960s across much of the U.S. The bird was put on the Endangered Species list in 1967, and in 1972 the use of DDT was banned here. It was discovered that the pesticide, while not toxic to the eagle, interfered with the bird’s calcium metabolism. As a result, the females could not lay healthy eggs and populations plummeted. Thankfully, as a result of the ban, numbers began to steadily increase.
While stationed in Florida for many years in the Navy, I often saw the beautiful birds while out fishing. They would build massive nests in the tops of the tallest trees in the swamps and along shorelines where they searched for fish, their main diet.
I see eagles about once a year down on the “pore farm.” Each time it will be while they are flying down the Brazos River channel, or flying overhead the large stock tank below my house. Every time I witness this rare and majestic bird soaring overhead, it warms my heart. I don’t care what old Ben thought, one eagle is better than 10 flocks of turkeys in my field.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.