With the last bald eagle nestling out of the nest, Arizona’s bald eagle population continues to set productivity records. In 2012, by the end of the breeding season, bald eagles set two new records for the number of breeding areas identified and the number of eggs laid.

In Arizona, at least 80 bald eagle eggs were laid and a record 66 breeding areas were identified, including four new breeding areas. For only the third time, the number of nestlings that fledged exceeded 50, with 52 young birds making it to the important milestone of their first flight. The species’ productivity records year after year indicate that bald eagles continue to flourish in the state. Bald eagles in Arizona were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2011.

“Seeing the continual year-after-year growth of the bald eagle breeding population in Arizona is extremely gratifying and a success story for all of the partners involved in intensely managing the species,” said Kenneth Jacobson, Arizona Game and Fish Department bald eagle management coordinator. “The Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee’s years of cooperative conservation efforts, including extensive monitoring by the Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program, continue to pay off and help this population grow.”

Continued support from the committee, State Wildlife Grants and the Heritage Fund, generated from lottery ticket sales, will help ensure that Arizona’s bald eagles continue breaking records.

Bald eagle management falls under the careful watch of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and a coalition of 25 other partners – through the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee — including government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes.

The breeding season for bald eagles in Arizona typically runs from December through June, although a few bald eagle pairs at higher elevations nest later than those in the rest of the state.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, a leading partner in recovery efforts for the species, attributes the success to cooperative on-the-ground management, including monitoring and survey flights; seasonal closures of critical breeding habitat during the breeding season; eagle rescue efforts; contaminants analysis and a nestwatch program to protect breeding activities.

For more information on bald eagles in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov/baldeagle or www.swbemc.org.

Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department

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