Keeping America the Beautiful this Independence Day
Bald Eagle in flight with text, Restoring our national symbol.
We place bands on the eagles' wings to track their movements around the Channel Islands and to monitor their nesting behavior.

JULY 2, 2013 -- Those of us at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) want to wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July holiday!

And what better way than with the triumphant restoration of America's national bird, the mighty Bald Eagle?

Thanks to the efforts of NOAA's Montrose Settlements Restoration Program and our partners, including the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Bald Eagles have made a comeback in southern California's Channel Islands.

These eagles were wiped out after chemical companies near Los Angeles discharged into the ocean hundreds of millions of pounds of the toxic chemicals DDT and PCBs, both of which stay in the environment for a very long time. Once DDT worked its way up the marine food chain to the eagles, it weakened the shells of their eggs, causing the parent eagles to crush the eggs during incubation (or when keeping them warm) before they could hatch.

Fortunately, we've helped return Bald Eagles to the Channel Islands, and since 2006, they now are raising chicks successfully in the wild. You can learn more at montroserestoration.noaa.gov, where you can even download a 3D animation and make a Bald Eagle come to life on your home computer.

And now for a special holiday message from the eagles of the Channel Islands ...

What Bald Eagles are thinking most of the year:

Swooping Bald Eagle.

What they're thinking on July 4:

Bald Eagle adult with hopping chicks in nest.