First Bald Eagle Nest Spotted In Cape Cod In More Than 100 Years


 Bald eagle nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. MassWildlife


The first bald eagle nest has been spotted in Cape Cod, Massachusetts since 1905 as wildlife experts celebrate the endangered species’ soaring population across the state. At the most recent count, more than 70 documented nests have been spotted around the state, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife).

Wildlife officials note a “dramatic” uptick in newly documented eagle nests across many parts of the state, nine of which have not previously been reported. Among the most notable is the Barnstable nest – the first egg-laden nest on Cape Cod in 115 years. Previously, the last seen nest with eggs was in the town of Sandwich in 1905.


“As the eagle population continues to grow, new challenges emerge as pairs try to establish new territories,” writes MassWildlife in a statement. Among those obstacles facing the American icon are territorial competitors such as ospreys and other eagles contesting for mutually beneficial nests and habitats.

“On the upside, more and more people across the Commonwealth are experiencing the thrill of seeing eagles in their own neighborhoods as these birds continue to expand their range to urban and suburban landscapes,” notes MassWildlife, citing successful conservation measures.

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was downgraded from a threatened species to one of special concern on the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act list in 2012 and removed from the Federal Endangered Species list in 2007. The species faced near extinction at the turn of the century after being targeted and killed by poachers and facing further extermination due to habitat loss and poisoning from the widespread use of the pesticide DDT in the 1950s and '60s.

Once a pair has chosen a high-reaching nesting site typically built into hardwood or conifer trees, a couple will build their 3.7-meter by 2.5-meter (12-foot by 8.5 foot) nest together using sticks. The duo will return annually to lay and brood between one and three eggs in the springtime for up to 40 years at each site, according to Mass Audubon.


MassWildlife also notes that the neighboring state of New Hampshire has set a new state record for the oldest bald eagle, identified as “W84”. The 23-year-old male was born in Massachusetts but has been recorded nesting in New Hampshire between 2007 and 2014.



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