Before retiring, I worked as a biologist and environmental educator on Long Island in New York. Stationed at the Connetquot River State Park Preserve, a 3,500 pine barren park, I always became excited when a bald eagle appeared during the winter, a rarity at that time.
One year, an extended cold spell froze lakes and ponds cutting off food supplies for the wintering ducks. Most ducks left, but those too weak to fly further south remained. A bald arrived that winter and preyed on the weakest of the ducks by flying overhead and diving down to the flock to single out the weakest duck that did not keep up with the flock. Gruesome, yes, but it is nature’s way of weeding out the weak.
The bald eagle’s population declined precipitously in the early to mid-1900’s. Tens of thousands of eagle were shot and killed by farmers fearing that eagles ate their livestock. Additionally, the use of the pesticide DDT affected the calcium metabolism of egg production that decreased the birth of eagle chciks.
With the banning of DDT and laws protecting eagles, they have made a come back and are now off the federal endangered species list. Although eagles are impacted by collisions with electric producing windmills in the in our technological age, they are still secure.