Eagles Band Introductions In Essays

Back in 2014, Ronstadt recounted how a legendary rock band came to be.

Glenn Frey and Don Henley knew each other before they joined Linda Ronstadt's band in 1971. But it was that time together that led to the formation of the Eagles later that year.

Upon the publication of her 2014 autobiography Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir – two years prior to the death of Glenn Frey on Monday (Jan. 18) at age 67 -- Ronstadt told Billboard about the adventure of incubating the Eagles.

Glenn Frey, Eagles Guitarist, Dies at 67

"[Producer] John Boylan was very active in helping me put a band together in those days. He knew all the musicians, and apparently Don Henley had already sent him some songs he had written. He'd heard me sing, he'd heard my records, he wanted to meet me and he came to L.A. hoping he could, and he had written some songs he hoped maybe I'd record. He sent them to John and they didn't turn out to be good songs for me at the time, but I heard him play the drums when I was walking through the room at the Troubadour and I thought he was such a good drummer. He had country mixed with rock in a way that didn't compromise either genre. So I said, 'Let's see if we can get him to play drums,' and John went to talk to him and he said, 'All right.'

"So we hired [Henley] to play drums. And then I needed a guitar player. I couldn't take Bernie Leadon 'cause he was working with the Flying Burrito Brothers, so I said 'All right, I'll get Glenn Frey. He can play really good guitar.' I was living with J.D. Souther then, and [Frey] was J.D.'s music partner. They had a group called Longbranch Pennywhistle. They were kind of breaking up; they decided to go their separate ways, but they were still really good friends. So I asked Glenn if he would come on that tour with us.

Eagles' Don Henley on Glenn Frey: 'He Was Like a Brother to Me'

"In those days we didn't have enough money to put people in separate rooms, so Glenn and Don were rooming together and they each discovered the other could sing and was a great songwriter. Glenn used to call Don his secret weapon. He said, 'I'm gonna do a band with Don. We're gonna do a band together.' I said, 'That's a great idea.'

"So we all talked about it. John said, 'I can help you do this. I can help you put this band together, and while you're waiting to get a record deal, you can play with Linda and you can have a gig.' It was one of those kinds of situations where it was in everybody's advantage. So I suggested they get Bernie Leadon to play guitar 'cause I liked Bernie and John suggested that they get Randy Meisner, and that's how the Eagles were formed.

Glenn Frey & Eagles' Biggest Billboard Hits

"They used to rehearse in my house, where I was living with J.D., 'cause we had a bigger living room than they did. And I remember coming home one day and they had rehearsed 'Witchy Woman' and they had all the harmonies worked out, four-part harmonies. It was fantastic. I knew it was gonna be a hit. You could just tell. They had really strong voices, really strong playing, really strong songwriting ideas and they had an extended pool of songwriters like Jack Tempchin and J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne. It was just an amazing time. There was no way they could miss with all that going for them."

Historic Bald Eagle Breeding Population

The Virginia breeding population of Bald Eagles is part of the broader breeding population within the Chesapeake Bay region (VA, MD, DE, and portions of WV, PA, and NJ). This regional population is geographically isolated from other breeding populations along the Atlantic Coast and elsewhere throughout North America. The dynamics and ecology of this population reflect characteristics of the entire region.

No specific estimates of the Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle population are available prior to the early 1900s. However, given the high productivity of Bay waters and the availability of extensive shallow-water foraging areas, it has been speculated that prior to European settlement the Chesapeake Bay may have supported one of the densest breeding populations of Bald Eagles outside of Alaska. By applying breeding densities from Alaska to the 13,000 km of Chesapeake shoreline, Fraser et al. (1996) suggest that the pristine Chesapeake may have supported in excess of 3,000 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles (approximately half of which would have been in Virginia waters). This estimate is of course speculative but does reflect the extensive shoreline system and high productivity of the Bay. A more recent investigation within the Virginia portion of the Bay (Watts et al. 2003) shows significant spatial variation in colonization rates and breeding density that suggests carrying capacity varies throughout the lower Bay. One implication of these results is that the initial carrying capacity of the Bay may have been approximately half of that projected by the Fraser et al. (1996) study.

The first recorded survey of Bald Eagles in the Chesapeake Bay was a ground survey conducted by Bryant Tyrell for the Audubon Society in 1936 (Tyrrell 1936). Tyrell’s survey covered approximately 25% of the available habitat within which he estimated 150-200 nesting pairs (although he actually documented only 71 nests). This survey has been used to project that the Chesapeake Bay population was between 600 and 800 breeding pairs at this time (Abbott 1978, Byrd et al. 1990).


Breeding Population Decline

There are no records during the early phases of the Virginia Bald Eagle population decline. Many factors (e.g. land clearing, hunting and collecting, overfishing, market hunting for waterfowl, land development) likely contributed to declines in the population prior to and after the Tyrell surveys. However, the decline in the Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle population was evident to the ornithological community by the mid-1950s (Abbott 1957, 1959). This time period coincides with parallel observations in Florida that were hypothesized by Broley (1957, 1958) to be caused by the widespread use of the biocide DDT. DDT and several related compounds came into widespread use as pesticides in the mid-1940s. We now know that the primary cause of the most recent and deepest phase of the population decline was the presence of DDT and its metabolites DDD and DDE in the Bald Eagle’s food chain (Wiemeyer et al. 1972, 1984, Byrd et al. 1990). Residue levels of several organochlorine pesticides found in eggs from the Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle population in the years 1973-1979 were some of the highest for any Bald Eagle population in the United States (Wiemeyer 1984, Byrd et al. 1990). Analysis of carcasses during this time period indicated that this regions population was one of the most contaminated populations in the United States (Byrd et al. 1990).

The first aerial survey of eagle nests in the Chesapeake Bay was conducted in 1962 (Abbott 1963). The survey included approximately twice the land area covered by Tyrell in 1936. Survey results suggested that about 150 breeding pairs of eagles remained in the Chesapeake Bay in 1962 (Abbott 1978). Annual aerial surveys continued to document a decline until the population reached an estimated low of 80-90 pairs in 1970 (Abbott 1978).

Virginia Bald Eagle Breeding Population 1977-2009.


Breeding Population Recovery

From 1977 to the present, government agencies, conservation organizations, and researchers have collaborated to survey the Chesapeake Bay population. Population growth has been exponential over this time period with an overall ten-fold increase in breeding pairs. Annual aerial surveys began to reveal a gradual recovery of the Bald Eagle population in the late 1970s. By 1985, the Chesapeake Bay supported more than 120 eagle territories. By 1993, this number had increased to more than 300 territories. In 2003, the population included 773 occupied territories in Virginia and Maryland combined (Watts and Byrd 2003, Therres unpublished data). This increase has been exponential with an average doubling time of just over 8 years. The population has now reached levels estimated from the Tyrrell survey conducted prior to the introduction of DDT. The Chesapeake Bay population reached the size threshold for “downlisting” in 1988 and for “delisting” in 1992.

Map of active bald eagle nests surveyed in 2010 – the 55th consecutive Annual Bald Eagle Survey of Virginia. 900 nest structures were surveyed, and more than 680 breeding pairs produced more than 880 chicks.

A reproductive rate of 0.7 chicks/breeding attempt has been believed to represent the threshold for population maintenance for Bald Eagles (Sprunt et al. 1973). A considerably higher reproductive rate of 1.1 chicks/breeding attempt was set as the recovery goal for the Chesapeake Bay population (Byrd et al. 1990). The reproductive rate documented by Tyrrell in 1936 was nearly 1.5 chicks/breeding attempt. Documented rates for the Chesapeake Bay population reached an all-time low of 0.2 chicks/breeding attempt in 1962 (Abbott 1963). Productivity showed a steady increase throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, reaching projected maintenance levels by the mid-1970s.

Text above is an excerpt from: Watts, B. D. 2005. Virginia Bald Eagle conservation plan. Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series, CCBTR-05-06. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. 52 pp.

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