HAINES (AP) -- The population of young eagles in the Haines area is thriving.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Mike Jacobson, said the number of young eagles is the highest since biologists began surveys in the 1980s. Jacobson spotted 30 juvenile eagles in a helicopter survey conducted in July.
Young eagles, hatched between May and July, were present in 26 of 45 active eagle nests in the Chilkat and Chilkoot valleys.
''That's pretty good. Its the highest number of successful nests we've counted.'' Jacobson told the Chilkat Valley News.
The count represents a success rate of nearly 60 percent. Nest productivity in Southeast Alaska typically averages 40 percent. Jacobson said he didn't know why the local population fared so well this year.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has conducted surveys of active eagle nests sporadically since the l980s, Jacobson said. Independent biologist Angie Hodgson surveyed eagle nests the past two years.
Jacobson said the success rate of active eagle nest varies with weather and food supply. Eagles hatched in the area often leave as adolescents, returning when they reach breeding age of about five years.
''They tend to leave the valley and go south in the fall, and they may work their way back in the spring and summer. They return, but usually not to the same place they grew up,'' Jacobson said.
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