Zoology

Birds that have Made a Comeback after being nearly Extinct



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It is disheartening to know that there have actually been entire species that have become extinct because of the actions of humans, whether on them directly or on their necessary environment. Conservationists are striving harder than ever to prevent any more birds to go the way of the Dodo bird in terms of extinction. Advocacy groups like The Wildlands Project, the Alliance for Zero Extinctions and numerous other groups help to conserve wildlife to protect against extinction. Also, many times governments enact laws that prohibit hunting and trading certain species to prevent extinction in their natural habitat. With all the combined efforts of conservation, there have been some birds that have actually been able to make a comeback after being nearly extinct.

Bald Eagle

As the national symbol for the United States, it was amazing to see that the Bald Eagle was actually on the Endangered Species List. In the 1960’s, the numbers for Bald Eagles was reduced to only 417 breeding pairs due to a variety of different reasons. The combination of natural habitat destruction and ruin, illegal hunting and contamination of their food source due to the public’s use of DDT as the main insecticide to ward off insects; the Bald Eagle was on the brink of extinction.

However, the Endangered Species Act issued a habitat protection for the Bald Eagle and combined with the ban of DDT’s use as an insecticide help to give the Bald Eagle a comeback. There are currently more than 10,000 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in the wild and they are proud to no longer be included in the Endangered Species List.

Regent Honeyeater

Regent Honeyeaters are medium sized birds that are indigenous to Australia. Once a thriving species that enveloped a widespread area from southeastern Australia all the way through the far west Adelaide Hills, the Regent Honeyeater was forced practically into extinction because of loss of habitat.

Feeding on nectar, honeydew, lerps and insects; Regent Honeyeaters foraged in high canopies and flourished in Australia for many years. However, the 19th and 20th century brought on a clearing of habitat to make way for agriculture, with remaining forest used for timber production. This drastically affected their numbers to the point of extinction.

However, with the efforts of the Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999, the Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act of 1992 and a numerous volunteer conservation projects like the Regent Honeyeater Project; this once nearly extinct bird has started to make a comeback. The birds have been successfully bred in captivity and were able to be released back into the wild with survival and adaptation success.

California Condor

The California Condor is unique in that it is the largest North American land bird and has a lifespan of up to 60 years. With their natural habitat including northern Arizona, southern Utah, the mountain coastal regions of central, southern and northern Baja California; the California Condor was on the brink of extinction in the 20th century due to habitat destruction, illegal hunting and lead poisoning. In an effort to save this species from extinction, a government conservation plan led to the capture of all wild California Condors in existence. These 22 birds were sent to the San Diego Safari Park and the Los Angeles Zoo in order to breed and regain some of their lost numbers. Through successful breeding in captivity, these condors were able to thrive in numbers and be reintroduced into the wild. Although the numbers are still low, these condors are making a definite comeback with around 200 living in captivity and over 200 living in the wild.


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