By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) - An eaglet hatched in the Pennsylvania wild was seen for the first time on Wednesday by thousands who watched live footage of the fuzzy fledgling from a camera monitoring a resurgence of bald eagles in the northeastern United States.
After launching bald eagle restoration projects in recent decades, which involved transporting hundreds of the birds from Canada, northeastern U.S. states have begun to see a significant increase in the bird's populations, according to government data from multiple states.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission's Bald Eagle Live Stream, which has attracted more than a half-million regular viewers since its launch in January, showed parts of the overnight hatching.(http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1592549&mode=2)
Footage early on Wednesday showed an adult eagle landing on a large nest secured atop a leafless tree, the sun just peaking up over the horizon in the background.
One eagle parent could be seen quickly standing up and revealing two gray squirming eaglets, the first born a day earlier, before it flew off. The other cautiously approached its offspring, slowly positioning its feet on either side of them in order to settle on top.
The eaglets are expected to be able to fly and leave the nest by late June or early July.
Since 2010, New York has had a 10 percent annual increase in it bald eagle population, according to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. Pennsylvania went from having three nests 30 years ago to more than 250 nests currently, its wildlife commission said.
Alaska, Florida and Minnesota have the largest bald eagle breeding populations, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Bald eagles, which live only in North America, were nearly wiped out over the past century due to hunting, habitat destruction and DDT chemical poisoning, which caused their eggs to crack prematurely.
In the United States, there are about 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles, about a fifth of the number when the birds were adopted as the national symbol in 1782, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Dan Grebler)