The recovery of the bald eagle from near extinction stands as a crowning achievement of this country’s conservation efforts.
When the bald eagle was chosen as our national symbol in 1782, there were an estimated 25,000 to 75,000 of these birds nesting in the lower 48 states. By the 1950s there were an estimated 412 nesting pairs. In 1967 the bald eagle was declared an endangered species. As a result of legal protection and reintroduction programs, the species rebounded. In 1980, there were an estimated 100,000 eagles living in the contiguous United States, Canada, and Alaska.
While habitat loss still threatens the bald eagle, the wild population is thriving and has since been removed from the endangered species list.
Adopt a bald eagle and help support conservation efforts at both the National Zoo's D.C. campus and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.