Breeding bald eagle pairs reach a new high in Massachusetts

The farmer said he believes the water in Murtaugh Lake took longer to warm up this spring, meaning fewer carp in the lake were available to the eagles to eat as part of the normal diet. (Windigo Images)

BOSTON — Wildlife officials say there were more territorial breeding bald eagle pairs documented in Massachusetts in 2017 than any other year since the majestic birds were reintroduced to the state in 1982.

The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says Massachusetts recorded 68 pairs this year, up from 59 in 2016.

Breeding bald eagles, the national symbol since 1782, were eliminated from Massachusetts in the early 1900s.

The state started introducing the birds to the Quabbin Reservoir in 1982. Since then, they have spread across the state from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and have been spotted with increasing frequency in more densely-populated eastern areas.

Although bald eagles have been removed from the federal endangered species list, they are still considered threatened in Massachusetts.

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