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Bald eagles' return: A majestic success story

Louis B. Ruediger
A young bald eagle in Armstrong County.

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Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

The return of the bald eagle to Western Pennsylvania is a success story of majestic proportion.

In 1980, our national bird had almost disappeared from the state — there were only three pairs of nesting eagles accounted for that year. The number of nesting eagles in the state today well exceeds 200, thanks to a reintroduction program instituted by the sate Game Commission in 1983. Nesting pairs now are found in both Allegheny and Armstrong counties.

Drive out to Crooked Creek Park in Armstrong County on any given day, and it's likely you can track down juvenile baldies — not yet sporting the signature white heads that maturity will bring — overlooking the landscape from their perch on the bare branches of a dead evergreen tree. It's quite a sight.

Every year Trib Total Media reporters write stories that track the lives of eagles in our region, noting when the eggs come and when the newest eagles break out of their shells and enter the world as the latest numbers to add to the ledger of success. We monitor them as if they were our own children — smiling with joy at the prospect of new life, holding our breath when predators threaten that prospective life.

The return of the eagles is a good news story in a world where less happy news often dominates. We are grateful to the folks at the Game Commission who recognized a problem and took steps to solve it so many decades ago. It was that foresight then that makes it possible now to write the good news story about the return of the eagles.

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