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Best Of 2019: Back From The Brink Of Extinction, Bald Eagles Command The Connecticut River

Cathy Malin
"Bob and Helen", a nesting pair of eagles on the Connecticut River.

An immature bald eagle in flight over the Connecticut River. Bald eagles do not develop their distinctive white head and tail until they are five years old.
Credit Cathy Malin / RiverQuest
An immature bald eagle in flight. Bald eagles do not develop their distinctive white head and tail until they are five years old.

They are one of our most recognizable national symbols, but have you ever seen a bald eagle in the wild? This hour we head out of the studio and into the field to see these birds of prey in their natural habitat--right here in Connecticut! We take you along with us on a Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruise down the Connecticut River to view these majestic birds, who nearly faced extinction in this state just a few decades ago.  

And we learn about another fish-eating raptor that is thriving on our waters today. Have you ever seen an osprey on Connecticut’s shoreline?

An osprey landing on a branch
Credit Patrick Comins / Connecticut Audubon
Connecticut Audubon
An osprey lands on a branch. In the mid 20th century, osprey populations in Connecticut dropped to only a handful of mating pairs due to use of the insecticide DDT. But ospreys in Connecticut have made an incredible comeback in recent years: Connecticut Audubon recorded 725 new fledgelings in 2018.

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Hartford Courant: A winter trip up the Connecticut River with bald eagles, an island and Joshua’s Rock(February 2019) – “It’s a sight you never forget no matter how many times you see our national symbol in the wilds of Connecticut. The sight is so inspirational that each sighting made an appearance as the main subject of one of my columns. It’s hard to believe we once put our national symbol on the brink of extinction as humans flirted with the pesticide DDT as a way to control mosquitoes.”

Hartford Courant: Osprey numbers on the rise; birds now found across state(March 2019) -  “The Connecticut Audubon Society’s annual osprey report for 2018 shows dramatic increases in the number of nests and the numbers of young fledgling birds reaching the age where they are ready to take flight and feed on their own. Volunteers counted 725 osprey fledglings in 2018, an increase of more than 103 percent from the number found in 2015.”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on March 8, 2019.

See all of Where We Live's Best of 2019 interviews here.

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.
Carmen Baskauf was a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil from 2017-2021. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

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