NASHVILLE --- Once on the brink of extinction, bald eagles are increasing their numbers in Tennessee. Our country’s national symbol had all but disappeared 30 years ago but the species was taken off the federal list of endangered species in 2007, and now state biologists are considering removing them from the Tennessee list as well.
Bald eagles declined dramatically across the continent beginning in the mid-1950s because of reproductive failures related to the use of the pesticide DDT. In 1955, there were only 14 known active eagle nests in Tennessee, all at Reelfoot Lake in the northwestern corner of the state. By 1961 there were none. It took 22 years before bald eagles again nested in the state, when a pair took up residence at Reelfoot Lake in 1983. Since then their numbers have soared with 130 pairs documented in 2009.