Bald Eagle Freed from Endangered Species List - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Bald Eagle Freed from Endangered Species List

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UNITED STATES.,--It's been an American symbol for over a century. But for the past three decades, the Bald Eagle has been recovering from illegal hunting practices and habitat loss. Even though they're off the endangered list, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials says the eagle still receives protection.

"The animals and their nests and any parts of eagles are still protected, but there's less of an emphasis on habitat protection," according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Mike Livingston.

During the 1970's, Bald Eagles were dying. Experts say a powerful insecticide called DDT was to blame. It made Bald Eagle eggshells so frail, they couldn't produce healthy offspring.

"It got in their systems and every time they tried to lay eggs, their egg shells would break, so there was really no successful breeding," says Katie Warner.

Biologist Mike Livingston says the Tri-Cities doesn't offer suitable nesting habitats. Bald Eagles prefer secluded areas. Ones with tall trees and horizontal branches. Expect populations to increase in the winter.

"There's overall an increase in the winter time, so the wintering birds here have been increasing as they have been across Washington and the northwest," said Livingston.