MassWildlife 'encouraged' by number of active eagle nests in the state

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Thirty active bald eagle nests -- including one in Pittsfield -- were verified statewide in a survey last month, an encouraging number for the bird that has only recently been taken off state and federal endangered species lists, according to the Department of Fish and Game.

"We are encouraged by the results of the first statewide bald eagle nesting survey, as we continue to find increasing numbers of eagles nesting in Massachusetts," said MassWildlife Commissioner Mary Griffin.

MassWildlife said it expects the final number of breeding eagles this spring will surpass last year's record high numbers.

State wildlife officials and volunteers fanned out across the state on April 5 for Massachusetts' first bald eagle nesting survey. They checked for new and existing nests from Plymouth to Pittsfield.

The most nests -- eight -- were found along the Connecticut River. Six were found at the Quabbin Reservoir and four along the Merrimack River. In addition to Pittsfield, nests were spotted at Wachusett Reservoir and in Framingham, Brookfield, Webster, Middleborough, Fall River and Plymouth. One nest failure was reported at Assawompsett Pond in Lakeville, where wind blew away a nest and two eggs.

Eagle sightings were reported in Arlington, Carver, Lunenburg, Russell, Sandisfield and along the Housatonic River.

Bald eagles are the state's largest native bird of prey native to Massachusetts with wingspans of up to seven feet.

Eagle numbers have increased in Massachusetts since being reintroduced to the Quabbin Reservoir between 1982 and 1988. The species is no longer on the federal and state endangered lists, but remains on threatened status in Massachusetts..

Meanwhile, MassWildlife welcomes reports of eagle sightings and nests from the public by emailing natural.heritage@state.ma.us. MassWildlife has already followed up on several reports of new eagle nests from the public.


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