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Eagle Breeding Areas Closed

January 24
00:14 2014

bald-eagle350Each year, to protect Arizona’s 55 breeding pairs of bald eagles,  various wildlife agencies close 23 areas across the state beginning in December. That’s when Arizona bald eagles begin rebuilding nests to lay eggs.

Bald eagles live near the rivers and lakes that are among Arizona’s most popular recreation spots. Since this time of year can be challenging for the birds, the Arizona Game and Fish Department implemented the closures as part of its highly successful program to conserve bald eagles in the state.

“Cooperation from outdoor recreationists during the breeding season is critical and has been a major reason that the population continues to grow. Bald eagles are very sensitive to even short durations of human activity during breeding.”              –Kenneth Jacobson, Head of Arizona Game and Fish Bald Eagle Management Program

Closure areas include portions of the Verde River, Salt River, Tonto Creek, Crescent Lake, Greer Lakes, Lake Pleasant, Lower Lake Mary, Show Low Lake, Whitehorse Lake and Woods Canyon Lake.

Tips for Visiting Eagle Areas

By following these simple guidelines, we can all help ensure that our living wildlife legacy will last for generations to come:

Enjoy bald eagles from outside the closures, especially during critical nesting times, December through June. Good places to see bald eagles without disturbing them are at Lake Mary and Mormon Lake near Flagstaff, or on the Verde Canyon Train in Clarkdale.

If a bald eagle is vocalizing and circling the area frantically, you are too close and need to leave the area quickly. Bald eagles incubating eggs or brooding small young should never be off the nest for more than 15 minutes.

Pilots should maintain the FAA-recommended 2,000-foot AGL advisory when flying over bald eagle habitat, designated on the Phoenix Sectional Aeronautical Map. Special brochures for pilots can be obtained by calling the Arizona Department of Transportation or the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s nongame branch, (623) 236-7506.

Help from anglers is especially needed. Monofilament and tackle has killed two nestlings. It’s been found in most bald eagle nests throughout the state. Ospreys, shorebirds, waterfowl and songbirds also succumb to this litter.

Help bald eagle research and recovery efforts by reporting any harassment or shooting of bald eagles. Call the Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement at (480) 967-7900.

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