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A story of recovery

A timeline tracking the bald eagle's history, from its brush
with extinction to its recovery.
Pre-1776: The number of bald eagles in North America is
believed to total more than 250,000; they inhabit virtually ever
large river, lake or estuary region on the continent.

• 1782: The Continental Congress puts the bald eagle onto the
Great Seal of the United States, making it the country's official
symbol.

1850-1900: With the population's movement westward, the eagles
natural habitat becomes increasingly threatened and its population
declines.

1900-1940: While technically protected in 1918 by the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act, tens of thousands of bald eagles are
killed as people view them as scavengers and also shoot them for
their feathers.

1940: Congress passes the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection
Act, which prohibits the killing of bald eagles.

1950s: DDT becomes widely available as an insecticide for
plants and contaminates fish, killing huge numbers of adult eagles
and harming the eggs that they hatched.

1963: The Interior Department documents only 417 eagle nesting
pairs, marking the low point for the species.

1967: The eagle is declared endangered and becomes among the
first species protected after Congress enacts the Endangered
Species Act six years later.

• 1972: DDT is banned for outdoor use; the eagle begins its
recovery.

1995: The eagle is moved from ``endangered'' to the less
protective ``threatened'' category.

1999: The Interior Department says the eagle has recovered
sufficiently to be removed from the Endangered Species Act list.

June, 2007: Interior Department removes the bald eagle from
Endangered Species Act protection and announces a management plan
to continue the eagle's protection under other laws.