Bald eagles making a comeback


Sir: This is in relation to the photo of the bald eagles featured in the Jan. 30 edition of The Chatham Voice. Bald eagles, fortunately, are becoming more frequently seen across the southern Ontario landscape. As recently as the late 1960s, there was only one pair of them along the Lake Erie shoreline between about Long Point and the mouth of the Detroit River, and that pair was at Rondeau Provincial Park. Even that pair wasn’t always successful in raising young, but at least they were trying.

The decline of this impressive species throughout much of their range was due to the widespread use of chemicals such as DDT, which were portrayed as being of great benefit in controlling undesirable insects. However it had a major negative effect on various other species of wildlife, including the bald eagle, which was placed on Ontario’s Endangered Species list when it first came into effect in 1973.

When the ban on such chemicals was eventually implemented, birds such as bald eagles slowly and steadily increased. In the last couple of decades or so, the bald eagle has recovered considerably, and is now listed as Special Concern, a far less problematic status.

While the pair of eagles shown in the photo may be from the nest visible in the woodlot at the south end of Fargo Road, near Shrewsbury, it is just as likely to be from another nest not far away. For example there have been as many as three pairs of eagles and active nests within Rondeau Provincial Park, and in the last few years, a nest has been built in a tree in the woodlot at the entrance to the Ridge Landfill, along Erieau Road.

Readers may be interested to know that as of about four years ago, there were up to 18 nests within, or on the borders of, Chatham-Kent, and are most often found within a short distance of a large marsh, river or along the lake shore. It has truly been a good news story!

Incidentally, the nest that had been visible from Fargo Road for several years had fallen out of that tree sometime in the last few months. A new nest has been built in the same woodlot, but in a different tree a little farther south in the woodlot and a little lower down. It is still visible from the road, but once the leaves are out, may not be.

Allen Woodliffe



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