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Eagles Reaching Habitat Limit in Urban Florida February 17, 2012
Florida eagle on lightpost
Bald eagle perched above Interstate 75 along Florida's Gulf Coast. The birds are facing increased hazards as they encouter an expanding urban landscape.
Florida’s bald eagle population has grown to the point some wildlife experts believe it can no longer expand into the state’s urban environment.

Florida has the nation’s largest bald eagle population outside of Alaska and Minnesota.

The birds nearly vanished in the 1960s due to the use of the pesticide DDT, which caused eggshells to become so thin they collapsed under the weight of nesting parents.

But healthy nesting sites have tripled since the early 1970s — a sign the birds are recovering.

Eagles are now expanding their range into the fringes of cities, where state wildlife officials say they face such new hazards as power lines and heavy traffic, which are particularly dangerous for young birds.

Photo: Gary Buckel