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James River eagles soaring; survey identifies 223 breeding pairs

James River eagles soaring; survey identifies 223 breeding pairs

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A new survey led by bird expert Bryan Watts shows that the number of eagles nesting along the James River has increased from 205 pairs in 2013 to 223 this year. The 2014 birds produced 313 eaglets. 

Here are some interesting facts about the eagles:

• The hotspot for eagle nests is the stretch from James City County to about Dutch Gap in Chesterfield County.

• Eagles nests disappeared entirely from the James in the mid 1970s. Pesticides were blamed. 

• Eagles started coming back after the federal government banned use of the pesticide DDT in 1972. 

• Once extremely wary of people, eagles are adapting and are increasingly nesting in yards and golf courses. 

• The city of Richmond has one eagle pair, James and Virginia. They produced one chick this year. 

• While there are 446 eagles nesting along the James, there are thousands of others that are too young to breed or haven't established territories yet. 

• Eagles are increasingly fighting over territories.

• The Chesapeake Bay region of Virginia and Maryland harbors nearly 2,000 eagle pairs. That's the largest population on the East Coast, surpassing Florida a few years ago.

SOURCE: Center for Convervation Biology

NOTE: The survey covers the James from the Chesapeake Bay to the Powhatan-Goochland area. 

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