USA: the massacre of bald eagles



by LORENZO CIOTTI

USA: the massacre of bald eagles

The avian virus is continuing to bring the bald eagle population to its knees between the US and Canada. The animal, one of the symbols of the USA, is the victim of the flu that for several weeks has been bringing the poultry sector to its knees, from chickens to turkeys, also killing various species of wild birds including the bald eagle, with at least 36 eagles.

killed by the virus in fourteen different states. The infections led to the killing of 27 million chickens and hens for breeding, a massacre. Transmission of the virus occurs mainly through wild birds which can infect farm animals.

In addition to the bald eagle, cases of infection and death have occurred in ducks, otters, foxes or ferrets. Symptoms range from mild to fatigued conditions that can lead to death within days. The virus can also affect some mammals and in some cases humans, as happened to a British citizen.

Bald eagle

This raptor has an estimated population of 150,000 individuals in the United States of America and is present with a population of 15,000-20000 individuals also in Canada. Despite being the symbol of the USA, this large bird of prey has long been hunted for trophy or because it was considered harmful, so much so that it almost went extinct in 1920.

Since then, killing white-headed sea eagles has been banned by the government and now about 150,000 survive in Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Texas, California and parts of Canada. The plumage of adults is dark brown with a white head and tail.

The only dimorphism is the size: females are in fact 25% larger than males. The beak and legs are bright yellow. The bald eagle has a length of 70-100 cm, weighs between 3 and 6 kg and has a wingspan between 1.8 and 2.3 meters; it is the largest bird of prey in North America after the California condor, however the golden eagle has a greater wingspan.

The Bald Sea Eagle hunts several varieties of fish, especially salmon and occasionally waterfowl, small mammals and reptiles as well. It has been the symbol of the United States since 1782 as well as of some divisions of the armed forces of that country, such as the 101st Airborne Division of the army.