Feature: Game Commission Film Celebrates Bald Eagle Restoration Success
Often times when we talk about wildlife, we talk about it in a singular sense. We say the cottontail rabbit, or the white-tailed deer as opposed to using plural nouns that would accurately represent their numbers.
But when it comes to the bald eagle, there was a time not so long ago in Pennsylvania that the singular noun nearly summed up the entire population.
In 1983, when the Game Commission launched what would become a seven-year program to restore bald eagles, only three nests remained statewide. That’s six adult birds – all of them located in Crawford County, in the northwestern corner of the state, along the Ohio border.
What a difference 30 years has made.
Today, bald eagles have become a common sight throughout much of Pennsylvania. So far this year, 268 nests have been counted statewide. And the Game Commission is considering a proposal to remove bald eagles from the state’s list of threatened species.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of those first restoration efforts, the Game Commission has produced a documentary on the bald eagle’s successful comeback, and the film is scheduled be screened at several sites throughout the state.
“Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Celebrating 30 Years of Restoration” brings full circle the amazing story of the bald eagle in the Commonwealth – following the species through its drastic decline and successful reintroduction to the present time, when the population once again is thriving.
The documentary features commentary from a host of experts. Game Commission endangered bird biologist Patti Barber, wildlife diversity section chief Dan Brauning, and wildlife conservation officer Ronda Bimber talk about the eagle’s past, present and future.
Follow wildlife rehabilitators Carol Holmgren, Sue DeArment and Maryjane Angelo as the work to bring back to health injured bald eagles – one of them a 25-year-old bird that as an eaglet was plucked from a Canadian nest and brought to Pennsylvania as part of the Game Commission’s seven-year restoration program. And watch as those birds are returned to the wild.
Running 22 minutes, the film does an amazing job of illustrating one of the great success stories in wildlife-conservation history, Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said.
“The bald eagle’s recovery in Pennsylvania has been nothing short of remarkable, and this film does an incredible job of telling that story” Roe said. “It celebrates a victory for wildlife conservation and will leave residents feeling proud to be Pennsylvanians.”
“Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Celebrating 30 Years of Restoration” was filmed and edited by Game Commission videographers Hal Korber and Tracy Graziano. The film has been entered in the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and after making its tour around the state, will be made available to the public online.
Roe said the film was received warmly at its first public screening during a recent Board of Game Commissioners meeting. So many of those who were there and saw the film remarked on how moving they found it, he said.
“People have an indescribable connection with bald eagles, and to see the bald eagle’s tale of triumph laid out in this manner simply is a thing of beauty,” Roe said.
Several showings of the documentary “Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Celebrating 30 Years of Restoration” have been scheduled to take place around the state this fall. More could be added.
The initial showings will be--
-- September 9, 7:30 p.m. – Adams County Agricultural & Natural Resources Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, Pa. A room number for the meeting will be posted on an inner door at the front entrance. Hosted by the South Mountain Audubon Society.
-- September 17, 7 p.m. – Bellwood-Antis Public Library, 526 Main St., Bellwood, Pa. Hosted by the Juniata Valley Audubon Society.
-- September 28, 5 p.m. – Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Visitor Center, 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, Pa.
-- September 29, Noon – Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area Visitor Center, 100 Museum Road, Stevens, Pa. For more information call 717-733-1512.
-- October 17, 7 p.m. – Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, 176 Water Company Road, Millersburg, Pa. Admission to this event is $5. Ned Smith Center members can use coupons to receive half-price admission.
-- November 23, 1 p.m. – John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, Pa.
Proposal to Delist
The Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Management plans later this month to make a recommendation for officials to remove the bald eagle from the state’s list of threatened species.
At a recent Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners workshop, Game Commission biologist Doug Gross advised the board a proposal to upgrade the bald eagle’s status from “threatened” to “protected” would be made formally at the board’s next meeting, to be held September 23 and 24 in Delmont, Pa.
Under the existing procedures, an endangered or threatened species cannot be removed from or added to the state’s list without two sessions for public comment and two votes by the board.
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