Our national bird was first protected in 1918 by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and then in 1940 by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibited commercial trapping and killing of eagles. Despite the early protections, the Bald Eagle was declared endangered in 1967, after its population plummeted due to DDT-caused eggshell thinning. After DDT was banned, the species rebounded. It was downgraded from endangered to threatened in 1995, and in 2007, it was delisted.
The population in Alaska is estimated at about 30,000 birds, and in the lower 48 states, it numbers around 14,000 nesting pairs.
Robert Visconti shot the photo above of an eagle flying over the Mississippi River, one of the primary wintering areas for the species.