The sound was unmistakable: high pitched but majestic at the same time, and coming from a tall tree on the edge of the lake I was fishing. As I watched the Bald Eagle take flight, I marveled at its impressive size and pondered the fact that it had become a common member of the local lake community. Bald Eagles are lucky: they were once endangered, but with the help of wildlife and conservation biologists they have come back to such an extent that we are beginning to take them for granted again. You could say that eagles have had very good Christmases lately, with lots of presents under the tree.
Not all species are so lucky, however. Many aren’t as beautiful as eagles, and there can only be one national symbol. Others aren’t game or fish species that humans enjoy hunting or catching. Some species are undervalued and ignored, yet many of them play important roles in our ecosystems, often by helping the charismatic and sport species in one way or another. In the past, there haven’t been many conservation presents for species like frogs, insects, plants, or even songbirds. Historically, we don’t give presents to species that aren’t endangered or that aren’t economically valuable to us.