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Bald Eagles Soaring Back From The Brink Of Extinction

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A bald eagle soaring over east Tulsa. A bald eagle soaring over east Tulsa.

After being nearly wiped, the bald eagle is soaring back to health and filling the skies across Oklahoma and the rest of the United States.

When America adopted the bald eagle as the national symbol in 1782, the country may have had as many as 100,000 nesting eagles. The first major decline of the species probably began in the mid to late 1800s, coinciding with the decline of waterfowl, shorebirds and other prey.

It got markedly worse after World War II, with the introduction of the pesticide DDT and to a lesser degree from lead poisoning.

By 1963, with only 487 nesting pairs of bald eagles remaining, the species was in danger of extinction, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Visit the News On 6 Bald Eagle Nest Camera page. 

DDT was banned soon after and the bald eagle started on its road to recovery. It was listed as endangered in the late 1960s, when the Endangered List was created. By the 1990s, it had recovered to the point of being dropped from the list.

11/6/2014 Related Story: Bartlesville Research Center, Known For Bald Eagle Work, Celebrates 30 Years

Its numbers have continued growing. There are now 69,000 bald eagles across the United States.

2/11/2015 Related Story: WATCH LIVE: Bald Eagle Incubates Two Eggs In Vian Nest

CBS News contributed to this report.

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