February 28

N.H. tops record for bald eagle sightings

Based on the annual mid-winter counts, scientists estimate the number of bald eagles in the state has doubled every decade since 1983, when seven birds were counted.

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — The state’s bald eagle population has almost fully recovered from the lows of the 1970s, according to New Hampshire wildlife experts.

The Concord Monitor reports that volunteers with New Hampshire Audubon counted 67 eagles in one day during a January count, the highest one-day total in the event’s 30-year history. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15, volunteers counted 83 birds, one shy of the state record for the annual two-week watch.

Bald eagles were removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007, thanks mostly to a decades-old ban on the pesticide DDT that had been blamed for their decline nationwide. In 2008, New Hampshire Fish and Game upgraded the bird’s status from endangered to threatened.

Geoffrey Niswander of Warner has seen the birds in unlikely places around Concord.

“I have literally seen adult bald eagles 50 feet above the light posts at Shaw’s on Fort Eddy Road,” Niswander told the newspaper. “They were soaring around the parking lot for 10 minutes.”

Based on the annual mid-winter counts, scientists estimate the number of bald eagles in the state has doubled every decade since 1983, when seven birds were counted. By 2003, 40 birds were spotted. The count doesn’t reflect the exact number of eagles that call New Hampshire home but give scientists an idea of how and where the bird is recovering.

“The bird is finally almost fully recovered from a real depressed population back in the 1970s,” said Chris Martin, a senior biologist and predatory bird specialist with New Hampshire Audubon.

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