- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The once-endangered loons had a record year nesting on some of Vermont’s lakes and ponds while nesting for bald eagles was down from the previous year , the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife said Wednesday.

Nesting loons produced 65 chicks that survived to leave their nests across the state, biologists said.

Peregrine falcons also had a good breeding season this year. Last month, the state reported an estimated 50 young peregrines left their nests.

“Rare birds such as peregrine falcons and loons are very sensitive to human disturbance while nesting. They nest only in a few specific habitats, so they need to find these in undeveloped places that are away from people,” said John Buck, nongame bird project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department.

Both loons and peregrine falcons were removed from the state’s endangered species list in 2005.

But the number of bald eagles that left their nests this year was down to 17 from a modern record of 26 in 2013. Biologists blame the lingering cold weather for the eagle reproductive decline. But a single down year for nesting is not a major concern since success will vary due to changes in weather or food, Buck said.

“We remain optimistic about the future of eagles in Vermont due to the widespread reports we have received of adult eagles throughout the state,” he said.

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