The bald eagle population on P.E.I. has been considered a success story by many. During the 1980s wildlife activists could only locate one eagle’s nest on the entire island. This year, it is estimated that there are as many as 500 birds amongst the 50 nests across the island. Gerald MacDougall a wildlife biologist said “we had one nest… one nest down Brudenell… and, yeah, that was it,”
MacDougall spent his career studying birds and thinks there were many factors 40 years ago that impacted their population. First of all, it was legal to hunt birds without a license up until the mid-1960s. There were also new pesticides being introduced that had severe effects on the eagles. The pesticide called DDT resulted in the birds laying thin eggs which were crush when sat on by the bird.
MacDougall said eagles still need more protection from humans. He explained that some hunters will leave animal carcasses with the bullets still in them. Since eagles are scavengers they can end up ingesting the lead and die from poisoning. “An eagle doesn’t need to have to ingest very much lead to kill it,” MacDougall said.
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