Four bald eaglets hatched in Maine in rare occurrence

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 28, 2011 3:48 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - A pair of bald eagles in Maine did more than their part to distance themselves from the endangered species list in a rare quadruple hatching of four eaglets, wildlife officials said on Thursday.

"Four eagles in one nest is quite a crowd," state wildlife biologist Kendall Marden said, calling the hatching of so many new arrivals a remarkable event.

The hatching marked the first time such a packed nest has been documented in Maine, and only the fourth time in the United States, Maine department of inland fisheries and wildlife said in a statement.

Prior to producing the four eaglets, the pair of bald eagles had endured two years of unsuccessful attempts at nesting, Maine wildlife experts said.

"While the bald eagle's status isn't quite as tenuous as it was years ago, it still remains exciting to see new milestones in their continued resurgence," Marden said in the statement.

Just a few decades back, bald eagles were battling against extinction. Today, Maine boasts more than 500 nesting eagle pairs.

The bald eagle was removed from state's list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

The next few weeks will be critical for the baby eagles as they begin to fly and feed on their own. After meeting those milestones, the chance of surviving their first year is 75 percent, Maine wildlife officials said.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston)