American Eagle Day

A Conservation Success Story at Radnor Lake

Rachel Carson
Photo Credit: Ron Boniol

On June 20th each year, Americans commemorate American Eagle Day by celebrating our national symbol, the bald eagle. This special day serves as a reminder of the significance of the bald eagle in American culture, and the importance of protecting this majestic bird and its natural habitat. As we celebrate this year, we reflect on the remarkable journey of conservation that has allowed the bald eagle to thrive once again in our skies. 

In the latter 20th century, the bald eagle was hovering on the brink of extinction in the continental United States. Public service advocates, such as our friend the late Bob Hatcher, who oversaw the recovery of the American bald eagle in Tennessee beginning in the 1970’s, worked diligently for decades to ensure that these magnificent birds of prey could re-establish their species in our great state of Tennessee safely. Thanks to public land protection efforts by the state of Tennessee, as well as private landowners, American bald eagles have been successfully nesting and expanding their populations in Tennessee for more than 40 years.

On July 12, 1995, the bald eagle was removed from the U.S. Federal Government’s List of Endangered Species and transferred to the List of Threatened Species. In June of 2007, as the species continued to thrive, the bald eagle was withdrawn from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.

American Eagle Day was first established through a proclamation by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1995. Following this proclamation, 41 U.S. States have made this holiday an official observance. In 2007, the United States cemented American Eagle Day as an official holiday across the country.

As you may have guessed, there are plenty of American bald eagles at Radnor Lake State Natural Area! On any given day, countless photographers come to Radnor Lake with the real hope of catching “the photo of their lifetime,” now that bald eagles started nesting on the 85-acre lake. Even with attendance soaring to a record breaking 2.2 million visitors in 2020, American bald eagles have come over and over again to give us a glimpse of perhaps one of our greatest conservation success stories of the past 50 years with the protection of the American bald eagle. 

Over the past 6 years, Radnor Lake has held special programming opportunities for our visitors in celebration of American Eagle Day at the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center to view the non-releasable captive eagles under our care, which have permanent injuries and cannot survive in the wild.