- Associated Press - Sunday, May 11, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking bird-watchers to keep their distance when viewing nesting bald eagles to give the birds their needed privacy.

Vermont was the last state in the continental United States to report breeding populations of bald eagles, after the species was brought back from the brink of extinction.

“Nesting bald eagles need their privacy,” said John Buck, the state’s migratory bird biologist. “This is a very crucial time of year for the birds. Most bald eagle pairs are now incubating eggs or may even be tending to newly hatched eagle chicks.”

Eagles were pushed out of Vermont in the 1940s after the pesticide DDT wiped out the population.

Between 2004 and 2006, biologists brought dozens of birds to the state and raised them in hopes they would return to the state as adults and reproduce.

Their nests are mostly found along the Connecticut River and surrounding waterways.

Eagles are sensitive to disturbance from humans and activity too close to their nest may prompt them to abandon their young.

Buck recommends that people view eagles with a spotting scope or binoculars from a distance of at least 300 feet and, where possible, to conceal themselves behind trees or bushes. If the eagles change their behavior, the birdwatchers should leave, he said.

Last year, bald eagles successfully raised 26 young in the state, up from 24 in 2012, department officials said.

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