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Searcy, AR has become home to more than a dozen bald eagles at Woody Pond near the wastewater treatment plant. Once an endangered species (in the 1950s there were only 412 nesting pairs in the 48 contiguous states), these birds were only recently de-listed from the U.S. List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007. Among the many factors that led to a reduction in their population was a widespread loss of suitable habitat. “Arkansas provides a good winter habitat for them,” according to biology professor Nathan Mills. “It doesn’t freeze over in the winter so they have access to the fish and there are plenty of wetlands available to them which is a habitat they like.” The eagles usually show up in late October and typically leave around mid-February, providing a spectacular local sightseeing attraction of our country’s national bird.
(Photos courtesy of John E. Keller)