Three bird species have been a top priority for Washington forest landowners for many years. These birds are the Northern Spotted Owl, Bald Eagle, and Marbled Murrelet. Foresters are conducting scientific research, practicing responsible forestry, creating needed legislation, and protecting valuable habitat to provide added protection for these endangered and threatened bird species.
Bald Eagle Population Increases and Removed from Threatened & Endangered Species List
Nearly on the brink of extinction, the bald eagle population is again flourishing in Washington State. The Fish and Wildlife Commission, which sets rules and policies for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), recently amended the Bald Eagle protection rules. The result of the rule change is that state Bald Eagle Management Plans are no longer required unless Bald Eagles are listed as Threatened or Endangered in Washington State. The cooperation of landowners was especially important to the bird’s recovery.
Celebrating the Recovery of a National Symbol
The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened and endangered species in 2007. First listed as endangered in 1967, the eagle has since made a remarkable comeback. In 1963, there were only 417 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states. Today, this number is closer to 10,000. In Washington, the number increased from 105 pairs in 1980, to 848 pairs today.
Many factors contributed to this population increase, including protection of nesting habitat and a ban on the use of the pesticide DDT. In Washington, where about two-thirds of eagle nests are found on privately owned lands, the cooperation of landowners was especially important to the bird’s recovery.
Marbled Murrelet a Threatened Species in our Coastal Forests
The marbled murrelet is a small seabird that nests in the tall trees of our coastal forests. The marbled murrelet is infrequently observed, and in fact, there have been only just over a dozen recorded sightings of occupied nests in the Pacific Rim countries where the bird is found. In 1992 it was designated a ‘threatened’ species under the Endangered Species Act in California, Oregon and Washington State. Its habitat and behavior place it in jeopardy from three major factors, including oil spills, gill netting, and loss of nesting habitat in coastal old-growth forests. To learn more go to USFWS Marbled murrelet.