Arizona experiences bald eagle baby boom
With the last bald eagle nestling finally out of the nest, the numbers are in and a record number of eaglets took to Arizona's skies in 2008.
A record 53 nestlings reached the fledging milestone this year, a 26 percent increase over the previous year. The number of young hatched also increased by four birds over last year.
"Arizona's intensive management of the species is paying off," said Kenneth Jacobson, Arizona Game and Fish Department bald eagle management coordinator. "The period between the bird hatching and taking its first flight is a critical time. The bald eagle nestwatch program and regular monitoring played a significant role in helping these nestlings develop from eggs into independent fledglings."
The breeding season for bald eagles in Arizona typically runs from December through June, although bald eagle nestlings in the northern reaches of the state hatch and fledge later than those in the southern parts of the state.
Bald eagle numbers over the past 30 years have grown more than 400 percent in the state with the number of breeding pairs increasing in that time from only 11 pairs to 56 in 2008.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department, a leading partner in recovery efforts for the species, attributes the success to cooperative on-the-ground management. Through the Southwest Bald Eagle Management Committee (SWBEMC), a broad coalition of 23 government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes, a plan is in place to help ensure the continued success of the bald eagle population in Arizona.
The conservation assessment strategy includes regular monitoring and survey flights; banding and visual identification; contaminants analysis; cooperative partnerships with the other committee partners; and the Arizona Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program to protect breeding activities.
The management committee's bald eagle nestwatch program was recently recognized with the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award.
Source: State of Arizona
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