Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prospects Looking Good for Vermont Bald Eagles

This year may very well be record setting for nesting Bald Eagles in Vermont. As of today six active nests and a possible seventh have been reported in the state. Four of these are in the Connecticut River Valley with pairs seen at Moore Reservoir, Barnet, North Springfield and Rockingham. Until recently Vermont has been the only state among the "lower 48" not to have at least one nesting Bald Eagle pair within its borders. This changed in 2006 with the successful nesting that produced one young in Rockingham which unfortunately died before being fledged.

Of particular interest are the eagles at North Springfield Reservoir observed and photographed today. Eagles first constructed a nest there in 2002 in a tall white pine. The following year a pair of Great Horned Owls highjacked the nest before the eagles returned. Not until 2005 did the eagles construct another nest near the first but failed to lay eggs. And then again in 2006 and 2007 owls beat the birds to the site. Last year eagles were seen from time to time at the lake but did not nest. Well, that all seems to have changed this year. Eggs have been layed and incubation is in progress. We can only hope they succeed in hatching and raising one or possibly two young to fledgling age.

The above photo of one of the North Springfield birds is a bit fuzzy due to being digiscoped from a distance of a quarter mile with the camera hand held. Shot at 120x (20x scope; 6x optical zoom).

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