WASHINGTON (AP) — After 34 years on the endangered species list, a tiny Midwestern bird is ready to fly free of federal protection. Once diminished by hunting for feathers for hats and hurt by the damming of major rivers like the Missouri, the interior least tern population has increased tenfold since 1985, to more than 18,000. The number of colonies has jumped from 48 to 480, said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which on Wednesday proposed taking the bird off the list. The delisting started six years after the service first suggested that the species has recovered and after computer modeling showed the population will be stable. Even conservationists and advocacy groups that often battle the Trump administration over what goes on and off the endangered list hailed the migrating bird’s recovery as an environmental success story. “Delisting is reasonable,” Center for Biological Diversity endangered species director Noah Greenwald said. “It shows that when we actually pay attention and care, we can help species and reverse damage we’ve done in the past. We can undo part of the damage we’ve done to these rivers.” American Bird Conservancy president Michael Parr said: “All around it’s a pretty good news […]

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