Thus begins a trendy one-liner often muttered to express frustration or dismay with one’s coworkers. (Luckily I know no one reading this blog ever feels that way. Right? ;) ) …But taken literally, quite the opposite is actually true. The Bald Eagle, the symbol of this great nation, is actually staging a solid comeback from its darkest days.
Before settlers arrived in North America and started wreaking havoc on Mother Nature, bald eagles were once as commonplace as seagulls or blue jays are today. As recently as the 1950s, however, populations in “The Lower 48” had declined to on the order of only a thousand eagles, owing in large part to careless destruction of the birds’ habitat, and the widespread use of the pesticide DDT. With the ban of this chemical; tighter restrictions on building and development; and the reintroduction of eagles from Canada, populations have staged a rebound that can be called nothing short of miraculous. As recently as the 1990s their numbers in North America have soared – pardon the pun – to over one hundred thousand bald eagles. Removed from the U.S.’s endangered species list in 2007, today these beautiful birds can be found in every one of these United States with the exception of Hawaii.
What has recently become one of my favorite pastimes, eagle-spotting (and “hawk-watching” in general) are becoming increasingly popular activities these days. A trip to the Upper Delaware River Valley just the other weekend yielded the photo of that majestic creature that graces the top of this page. (No, that’s not just a stock image or other booty lifted from some professional photographer’s website.) …We no longer have to wait for that once-in-a-lifetime family vacation; til our travel budget can allow an excursion to some distant, secluded spot on earth – These national treasures can increasingly be found right in our own backyards. Although I’ve never located it myself, I’ve been told time and again that there is in fact a bald eagle nest at the Wanaque Reservoir (i.e. in the town right next to mine).
Indeed, in this bustling, mile-a-minute world we find ourselves living in today, it has become more important than ever to take a moment to notice the little things in life. As I shared with a fellow church member just the other day, we owe it to ourselves to pause every now and then and admire the wonder of God’s Creation, that – whether we realize it or not – we are all so blessed to be a part of. So let’s not take it for granted!