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Bald eagles continue to flourish along the Mississippi

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After being subject to a deadly farm pesticide and remaining on the endangered species list for 40 years, the bald eagle population continues to grow along the Mississippi River.

The Star Tribune reports officials from the National Park Service counted 38 active bald eagle nests in 72-mile stretch from Dayton to Hastings over the weekend, with high concentrations over Pig's Eye Lake in St. Paul.

In May, the federal agency will take another flight to count eaglets. The newspaper reports eagles usually lay about two eggs on average in March. The eggs typically hatch about 35 days later.

The federally protected bird was on the endangered species list from 1967 until 2007. The pesticide DDT decimated the population until it was banned in 1972.

Mark Martell, director of bird conservation for Audubon Minnesota, tells MPR that the count does not include nests outside the Mississippi National River Recreation Area. Martell thinks if other Twin Cities nests were included, the count could be closer to 60 or 70.

A healthier river, making food sources more available also contribute to the growing population.

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