Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Alaska Bald Eagle Feeding Controversy

In his own inimitable way, the Daily Show’s Ed Helms has made both sides in the controversy over the feeding of Bald Eagles at the Homer Spit look silly in a parody entitled The Eagle Has Landed. Unfortunately, this is a serious situation that has gotten completely out of control. In an effort to address the issue, the Homer City Council recently passed an ordinance that bans the feeding of eagles, but grants an exemption to the “Eagle Lady” (Jean Keene), who is the primary source of the problem, putting out 400 pounds of fish daily.

Bald Eagles are regal predators and scavengers; they don’t need our handouts. I agree completely with eagle-feeding ban proponent Edgar Bailey (a former Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist who I had the pleasure of spending time afield with in the Aleutian Islands) when he proclaims that this willful feeding of eagles is "degrading our national bird into a garbage bird, a dumpster diver."

Local news coverage of the Homer eagle controversy is here listed in reverse chronological order:
Feeding Eagles Does Not Equate to ‘Baiting’ Them (4/19/06)
Daily Show Sinks Talons Into Eagle Feeding (03/29/06)Council Gives ‘Eagle Lady’ Feeding Rights (02/15/06)
National Symbol Deserves Better (2/8/06)
Eagle Charges Refuted (2/8/06)
Free Lunch Continues for Eagles (2/1/06)
No: Practice Leads to Eagles’ Deaths (1/25/06)
Why Not? It’s Relatively Harmless (1/25/06)
Eagle Feeding Proposed for Nuisance List (1/25/06)
Editorial: Compromise Offered (1/18/06)

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