Nationally associated as an emblem of authority and statehood, bald eagles are "sensitive."
At least that’s how they’re classified by the Washington State Wildlife Commission. But there's power in numbers -- and their population continues to grow.
Since 1983, bald eagles have been on Washington state’s endangered species list. As of 2008, they’ve been classified as a “sensitive species” rather than an “endangered species.” This means that they’re no longer listed as a priority for protection.
Wildlife biologist Joe Buchanan studies bald eagle territories in Washington. He recommended to the WSWC that they be taken off the list completely.
“We have a population that's continuing to increase, both in Washington and across most of the country, and that increase is expected to continue for, at least nationally, for another two decades,” said Buchanan.
The WSWC will consider increasing or decreasing the protected status of five species this fall: bald eagles, peregrine falcons, white pelicans, marbled murrelets and lynx.
Public comment will be taken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife through October 10.
In November, the WSWC will make a decision.