Arizona’s bald eagles continue to impress biologists with their upward growth trends and year-after-year breeding records.
Key productivity records that were broken in 2016 include number of: breeding areas, occupied breeding areas, eggs laid, active breeding areas, successful breeding attempts and young hatched. All of these measures are important indicators of the species’ health.
The most notable: a record minimum of 93 bald eagle eggs were laid by a record 65 pairs of adult eagles with 78 young hatched.
“Bald eagles in Arizona continue to surprise us and surpass all expectations. The population continues to expand into new breeding areas and less typical habitats. What was most remarkable this year is that we had birds nest in areas extremely close to human activity, which is unusual for the species in Arizona. Thankfully those adults were very tolerant of the activity and successfully fledged their young,” said Kenneth Jacobson, Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) bald eagle management coordinator.
Annual productivity records indicate that bald eagles continue to flourish in the state. Bald eagles were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2007. The department’s conservation efforts contributed to the species recovery. Nationally, the birds remain protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The impressive growth of the population is attributed to the continued efforts of the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee – a coalition of AZGFD and 25 other government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes – and its years of cooperative conservation efforts, including extensive monitoring by the nationally-awarded Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program.
The breeding season for bald eagles in Arizona runs from December through June, although eagle pairs at higher elevations nest later than those in the rest of the state.
Continued support from the committee, State Wildlife Grants and the Heritage Fund (Arizona Lottery ticket sales), will help ensure that Arizona’s bald eagles continue to thrive.
For more information on bald eagles in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov/baldeagle or www.swbemc.org.