/ Modified oct 7, 2019 11:18 a.m.

Bald eagle numbers dip in Arizona despite more breeding area

While counts decreased over the previous year, an official said the expanded breeding areas point to a strong population.

Juvenile bald eagle VIEW LARGER A juvenile bald eagle flies away after being released at Horseshoe Lake in June 2019.
Arizona Game and Fish Department

PHOENIX — The number of new bald eagles in Arizona has dipped from last year despite more breeding areas.

The population of nestlings — birds too young to leave the nest — dropped from 87 last year to 71 this year.

Egg counts dipped slightly, from 102 to 97, as did the tally of fledglings, from 70 to 63.

Kenneth Jacobson, bald eagle management coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said such slowdowns are not uncommon and that expanded breeding areas suggest a strong population.

Since receiving endangered status in 1978, adult breeding pairs in the state have expanded from 11 to 74.

Though no longer listed as a protected species, the birds still are shielded by federal law.

Arizona Science Desk
This story is from the Arizona Science Desk, a collaborative of the state's public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Arizona Science Desk.
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