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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Martha, Beloved DC Eagle, Euthanized

As reported here in The Washington Post, Martha, one-half of a pair of Bald Eagles that nested for years near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, has been euthanized after suffering a severe wing injury. Sad news.

The story emphasizes George and Martha's importance, both physical and symbolic, to the reintroduction of Bald Eagles to the DC area. George and Martha's longevity and success living in a semi-urban environment were a sign that humans and eagles could accommodate each other in DC. At the same time, George and Martha's 16 eaglets helped bring the DC-area eagle population to levels not seen in decades.

I also liked the bit in the article about how George and Martha turned grizzled construction workers into birders: "'Big tough crane operators, concrete guys, everybody just looked for the eagles,' said Jim Nichols, a tugboat operator for one of the project's contractors." It only takes one encounter for people to understand the value of protecting wildlife, hopefully Martha's offspring will continue to inspire DC citizens the way she did.
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