Although the Bald Eagle is
no longer covered by the Endangered Species Act, there are laws and agencies that will continue to shelter the iconic bird from environmental dangers and human interference. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act make it illegal to kill, sell or harm eagles, their nests or eggs.
The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service has also drafted a monitoring plan that outlines how the federal agency will work with state wildlife organizations to watch the birds in the years ahead. The USFWS is soliciting public comment on this proposal. One of the plan's major points is that if the USFWS determines that the Bald Eagle again needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act, it can propose to re-list the species. More information on this plan and how you can leave your input can be read at Bald Eagle Recovery Questions and Answers.
The USFWS is also asking for public comment until September 4, 2007 on a proposed rule which would establish permit provisions for the intentional taking of eagles and nests, including cases where their location poses a risk to human safety or to the eagles themselves.
So there are good opportunities for public input on how the health and viability of this species will be managed. Birders should speak out, because how the Bald Eagle de-listing is managed could become a model for other endangered birds.
And as reported earlier in Field of View, the USFWS has settled on language that more clearly defines the word disturb under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.