National Endangered Species Day: Friday, May 20, 2022
By Marcia Ostendorff
The eaglets are flying again at Shelley Lake Park. If you haven’t been to see them, I encourage you to take a walk along the trail and look for them. There is usually yellow tape around the corner of the trail close below the nest in a very tall pine tree. There is often a small crowd of people standing by the tape and watching the activity of the adults and fledglings.
These days, we don’t think too much about seeing an eagle soaring around the lakes of Wake County. My husband, Lou, watched an eagle perform acrobatic maneuvers over I-540 recently. However, twenty years ago, I considered myself lucky to see any eagle anywhere and never imagined I would have the opportunity to observe the family life of a bald eagle.
By 1970, DDT had decimated raptor populations in the Lower 48. Then, in 1972, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed. It wasn’t perfect legislation, and it still needs tweaking, but the American Eagle is one of ESA’s most resounding success stories. It was a slow, tedious process and took many years for this species to rebound. However, eagles were removed from the endangered list in 2007. They are still protected, but no longer in trouble. In fact, in some areas and situations, they have become so common they have become nuisance animals as described in this article from the NYT, When the National Bird is a Burden.
Hold onto your chickens and small pets!
Why should we be concerned about the plants and animals that share our living space?
Why care about endangered and threatened species? There are many, many reasons, but primarily as people of God, we must remember we are commanded to care for our earthly home.
May is the perfect time to visit Shelley Lake and take the “self guided” eagle tour. Have a camera handy. Watch for the hawks, geese, owls, chipmunks, deer, and squirrels that live there, too. Then, perhaps with the benefit of a little bug spray or a long sleeved shirt and pants, walk out on your back steps, your porch, or patio and take a “tour” of your own backyard to witness and enjoy some of the marvelous gifts of Creation.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!