MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Bald eagles have produced a record amount of young in both Vermont and New Hampshire this year, marking the continued revival of a bird that once was on the brink of extinction.
Bald eagles successfully raised 34 young birds in Vermont, up from the previous record of 26 in 2013, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said. In New Hampshire, 56 territorial pairs have produced 51 eaglets, the highest number of newborns ever documented, according to the New Hampshire Audubon Society. The total estimate is 300-plus birds, including young transient eagles that can be seen in New Hampshire during the summer.
The bald eagle declined in the United States in the 20th century due to habitat loss, nest disturbances and the effects of the pesticide DDT, officials said. They started to return after DDT was banned in the 1970s and birds born in captivity were reintroduced to the wild.
The bird has been removed from the federal endangered species list but is still on Vermont's state endangered species list. New Hampshire wildlife officials have proposed removing it from the state's list of threatened species, now that the bird has made a steady comeback in that state.
Peregrine falcons and loons also had record nesting success this year in Vermont. The mild weather this spring likely played a role in increasing the numbers of all three birds, officials said.
"The cooperative weather provided a bump to many species this year, but the continued recovery of these species is the result of a long-term effort by our department and our partners to conserve the habitat these birds need to thrive," said John Buck, the Vermont department's migratory bird biologist.