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Up, up and away: First 2008 bald eagle fledgling takes flight in Arizona
After weeks of hopping and flapping, nestling bald eagles are growing up and beginning to take to Arizona’s skies. The first 2008 bald eagle fledgling took flight recently from a cliff-side nest along the waters of Lake Pleasant.
The first fledgling’s sibling is expected to take its first flight shortly, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department continues to keep a vigilant eye on bald eagle nesting activity around the state.
“Bald eagles are sensitive to human activity, so this is a critical time of year for nestlings,” says Kenneth Jacobson, head of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Bald Eagle Management Program. “Game and Fish asks recreationists to stay away from bald eagle nests so that they don’t prematurely scare a nestling from the nest. If a bald eagle is found on the ground, report it to Game and Fish promptly.”
Eaglets demonstrate pre-flight behaviors of hopping up and down in the nest; flapping their wings; and hovering over the nest slightly. These exercises help prepare them for a successful first flight.
Thus far in 2008, over 60 bald eagles have hatched with more breeding areas expected to hatch in the coming weeks.
Outdoor recreationists are asked to help protect important breeding areas by honoring the closure of 16 areas across the state, most of which end in June. Various land and wildlife management agencies close the breeding areas from December through the spring to protect the state’s 48 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some of the closure areas are located near popular recreation sites. For a list of closure areas, visit www.azgfd.gov.