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Learn More About Bald Eagles

Free bald eagle workshop in Pinetop on Feb. 1 offers insight into the great American symbol.

PINETOP, Ariz. – Would you like to know more about one of our great symbols of national pride – the bald eagle? Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists will conduct their annual educational seminar for the public on bald eagle natural history at the department's Pinetop office on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m.

The program is free to the public and will consist of a classroom presentation about bald eagle life history, identification, behavior patterns and current status in Arizona and North America. The classroom portion of the seminar will be followed by an optional field trip to a local lake to observe eagle behavior first-hand.

Participants are advised to dress appropriately for weather conditions and to bring binoculars or a spotting scope for improved observation.

Research suggests there were as many as a half a million bald eagles in North America before European settlement; however, their numbers tumbled to less than 500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states by the late 1960s, just prior to the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The specie's tremendous population drop was blamed on habitat loss and use of the pesticide DDT, which collected in fish the eagles fed on and disrupted the birds' fertility and egg production. Bald eagles are a true wildlife conservation success story with an estimated 70,000 bald eagles in North America today.

Arizona's bald eagles are also flourishing and continue to set productivity records year after year thanks in part to the oversight of the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee, a coalition of 26 government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes. Bald eagles in Arizona were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2011.

Dan Groebner, a nongame specialist in the department's Pinetop region, says, "Most of Arizona's bald eagles are snowbirds. They move down from the north in December, are commonly seen perched at White Mountain lakes and reservoirs in January and February, and begin moving back north by March.

In recent years though, more pairs have decided to stay in the White Mountains to breed and raise young in the summer"

For more information on bald eagles, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/baldeagle. For questions on the seminar, call the Pinetop office at (928) 367-4281.


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