The removal of the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species has been delayed in part because of a debate over the meaning of the word "disturb." The law says eagles should not be disturbed, but different groups have different interpretations:
American Heritage Dictionary To break up or destroy the tranquility or settled state of; to trouble emotionally or mentally; upset. To interfere with; interrupt; to intrude on; inconvenience; to put out of order; disarrange.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service To agitate or bother a bald . . . eagle to the degree that causes injury or death to an eagle (including chicks or eggs) due to interference with normal breeding, feeding or sheltering behavior, or nest abandonment.
Definition would require proof that a particular eagle had been killed, injured or forced to abandon its nest.
Center for Biological Diversity To agitate or bother a bald . . . eagle to the degree that disrupts the normal behavior of the eagle.
Definition includes actions that annoy or frighten the birds but do not harm them physically or drive them from their nests.
National Association of Home Builders A knowing or intentional annoyance or agitation that actually kills or injures a bald . . . eagle by significantly disrupting normal behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding or sheltering.
Definition would cover only instances in which the birds are killed or injured.