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In Lake Stevens not only is it a reminder of America, freedom, liberty, and justice for all, but people here will say “I’ve seen them eating fish at the lake,” or “I’ve seen the nest,” and are marveled by its presence.
Marlene Sweet moved to Lake Stevens years ago from California and took an immediate fascination with these magnificent flying creatures.
Sweet, who runs a local eagle hotline has recently been receiving calls from people saying they’ve seen young eagles in the nest located between the lake and Hwy. 9; in fact, Sweet herself has seen the young in their nest high up in a cotton tree.
“I have personally seen two little fuzzy grey heads up there being fed,” Sweet said with some excitement in her voice.
The eagle hotline was initially intended to help eagle biologists track and study the eagles, but now the hotline is used for gathering information on any unusual activities the eagles may be engaged in that people see.
“Last year everyone was disappointed because they didn’t leave us any young, we don’t know if they laid eggs, and they were disturbed or they lost them,” Sweet said.
Sweet continued to say that in the past 15 years that she has lived in Lake Stevens, she can only remember one other time when the eagles did not raise any young.
Not wanting to take any chances or risks of the eagles not raising any young again this year, Sweet and others kept a vigilant eye on what was happening around the eagles nest.
“This year we were really watching to see if there was any activity around the nest,” Sweet said.
The bald eagle is unique only to North America and at one time numbered in the tens of thousands from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico.
The northwest coast is where the greatest population of the remaining eagles can be found because of their love for salmon.
The dead or dying fish from lakes, streams, and rivers are an important food source for all bald eagles.
Scientists liberally put eagles into four groups based on their physical characteristics and behavior.
The bald eagle’s scientific name is (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus) which translates to sea (halo) eagle (aeetos) white (leukos) head.
At one time “bald” meant “white,” not hairless.
Within the bald eagle category, there are two subspecies of bald eagles; the “southern” bald eagle found from Texas and Baja California across to South Carolina and Florida, and the “northern” bald eagle which is slightly larger than its brother.
Bald eagles were officially declared an endangered species in 1967 in all of the United States south of the 40th parallel, and preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the eagles as “threatened,” taking them off the endangered species list.
Sweet says that people need to be mindful of what they put out to kill rodents because it is a food chain, and what kills a rat can kill an owl or eagle if they eat the dead rodents.
With eagles starting to thrive in small numbers and regain their population, they become closer to being removed from the “threatened” list.
This means, they can possibly be exposed to human dangers resulting in death.
The USFWS will make a final decision on whether to remove the bald eagle from the federal list of threatened and endangered species by June 29, 2007.
If you see any unusual or odd behavior of the eagles, please call the hotline at: 425-335-3400