Wednesday October 10, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Our national symbol, the bald eagle, is staging a dramatic comeback in the Green Mountain State. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that bald eagles had a very successful nesting season this year with 15 nests documented in the state and 23 eaglets fledged -- leaving the nest to be on their own.

"Last year a total of 13 eaglets fledged," said John Buck, the state wildlife biologist in charge of migratory birds for the department. "Three of this year’s 15 nests were newly discovered, and two of the nests produced three eaglets, which is excellent when you consider that one or two is the norm."

Bald eagles first began nesting in Vermont in 2002 after a 60-year absence. Habitat loss and environmental contaminants, such as DDT, were the cause of the alarming decline of bald eagles here and throughout the country.

The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act are important laws that were instrumental in the recovery of the bald eagle across the US. The bald eagle was removed from the list of endangered species at the national level in 2007. It remains listed as an endangered species in Vermont, as it does in many New England and surrounding states, because its resurgence has come later than in many other states.

"Vermont has excellent eagle habitat and it has just taken longer for the eagles to discover it," said Buck. "The reasons for this are unclear but territoriality, disbursement patterns and their five-year age at sexual maturity are likely involved.

"It is encouraging to see our eagles building more nests and having higher productivity per nest," added Buck. "We will continue to protect and monitor the success of bald eagles every year in accordance with the Bald Eagle Recovery Plan. When it is evident through nest distribution and productivity the eagle population is capable of withstanding naturally occurring losses it will be considered for de-listing in Vermont."