ROCHESTER (WXXI) - New York State officials say that bald eagles are thriving in historic numbers across the state. The DEC is reporting the highest ever number of nesting pairs, 323, since the agency began a restoration effort in 1976.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says early indications from aerial surveys show that around 73 percent of bald eagle territories are occupied this year.
Bald eagles, once found throughout the state, were nearly eliminated by the late 1960s, mainly due to the effects of DDT.
Officials say although New York’s bald eagle restoration program ended in 1989, the state’s eagle population has continued to grow.
The state is looking for help from the public in assessing the status of the bald eagles. Officials say a network of volunteers provide reports on the status of nests.
One challenge we heard about recently from Great Lakes Today, the news collaborative that includes WXXI, is an increase in the lead related deaths of bald eagles.
The birds can be poisoned by eating the remains of animals shot with lead ammunition. That’s a situation that New York environmental officials are closely monitoring.