“This species, our national symbol, since 1782, was on the brink of extinction, and to see it come back the way it has, it’s an inspiring story all the way around.”

Meghan Overdeep
June 22, 2018
Gabriel Grams/Getty Images

After decades spent on the brink of extinction, the bald eagle is making a triumphant comeback across the country. Fox News credits what is being called “one of the greatest conservation stories in North American history,” to a Herculean nationwide conservation effort that is finally paying off.

From fewer than 500 eagle pairings in the 1960s, the nationwide count has since soared to more than 30 times that—to an estimated 16,048 pairs in 2009, Fox News reports.

From his post on Lake Jackson, an hour south of Atlanta, longtime wildlife biologist Jim Ozier has enjoyed a front row seat to their heroic comeback.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, there was only one known successful nest in Georgia during the 1970s. Now, Ozier reckons "there’s probably not a place in Georgia that’s not 20 to 30 miles from a bald eagle nest.”

“I can remember getting out of high school and just wondering if I would ever see a bald eagle,” he recalled to Fox. He never could have predicted how much things would change for the better. 

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Wildlife biologist Bob Sargent, who recently took over Ozier’s surveying duties, told Fox the DNR documented a Georgia state record of 218 active nesting territories in 2017.

“This species, our national symbol, since 1782, was on the brink of extinction, and to see it come back the way it has, it’s an inspiring story all the way around,” Sargent told Fox.

We couldn’t agree more.