Reconsidering Raptors During the Interwar Years

in Nature's Ghosts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226038148
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226038155 | DOI:
Reconsidering Raptors During the Interwar Years

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In 1940—as U.S. participation in World War II loomed on the horizon—the Bald Eagle Protection Act finally became law. As the only eagle with a range restricted to North America, the species soon became commonly known as the American eagle and widely adopted as an emblem of the young nation's freedom, power, and sovereignty. Yet, despite the nationalistic symbolism associated with this quintessential example of charismatic megafauna, the move to grant federal protection to the bald eagle was long in coming and remained controversial even when it finally passed. Persecution of the bald eagle and other raptors was part of a much broader anti-predator campaign waged by private citizens, sportsmen's clubs, arms and ammunition manufacturers, and local, state, and federal officials. The ornithologist Waldron DeWitt Miller played a leading role in the conservation campaign for birds of prey. He coauthored blistering pamphlets that helped raise consciousness about the plight of raptors and provoke reform of the National Association of Audubon Societies.

Keywords: Bald Eagle Protection Act; raptors; bald eagle; Waldron DeWitt Miller; birds of prey; conservation; federal protection; North America

Chapter.  10448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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