The good news from Maine is that there are more bald eagles in the nests and more salmon in the rivers than have been seen in the state for years.
Gene Letourneau, an outdoors columnist who keeps up with the government agencies that keep up with the state's wildlife, reports that 31 young eagles have been counted in Maine nests this year, the most since the Audubon Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began their eagle study in 1962, and also that chemical contamination in un-hatched eggs has dropped. (Eggs and fledglings are not all that is found in eagle nests. One contained a steel trap which had once held a muskrat.)
The 175 Atlantic salmon taken this year from the Penobscot River are by far the biggest catch there since 1936 and the third largest on record. In addition, 30 Atlantics were spotted recently in the Saco River, above 30-foot-high Cataract Dam. That the salmon fishery has grown so dramatically is happy evidence that even greater improvement can be expected as the quality of Maine's rivers improves and its stocking program bears fruit—er, fish.
In 1976 there were an estimated 20 million skateboards careening around the U.S. whereas the year before there had been only 14 million, an increase of about 43%. In the same period, the estimated number of skateboard injuries increased from 72,000 to 188,000, or 161%.
These figures come from the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. Startled by its own data, the commission has decided to try to determine whether American kids really were almost twice as clumsy in 1976 as they had been in 1975. "If it's people simply losing their balance, there's nothing we can do about it," says David Pittle, a commission member. "If it's wheels coming off, say, that's something else."
Most of the injuries were to younger children, the 10-to-14 age group accounting for 54% of them. And 78% of the injuries were to males, which must mean that girls are smarter, in that fewer of them skateboard, or better coordinated, or chicken.