Bald eagle makes a stop in Weymouth
Two years off the endangered species list, bald eagles are becoming less of a rare sight on the South Shore. There are 25 pairs of bald eagles in Massachusetts, said Simon Perkins, staff ornithologist at Mass Audubon, from one pair when it was restored as a species in the state in the early 1980s.
“They’re not common, but they are much less rare than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago,” Perkins said.
Joe Halpin saw one Saturday in his Birchbrow Avenue backyard, where it spent more than an hour in a tree near Wessagusset Beach.
Halpin sees plenty of cardinals, finches and other birds, but this is the first unusual sighting, he said.
“Nothing like an eagle,” he said. “That’s probably once in a lifetime.”
Two bald eagles were seen within 15 miles of Boston during the annual Greater Boston Christmas bird count Saturday.
Breeding pairs of bald eagles live around the Quabbin Reservoir in Western Massachusetts and Assawompsett Pond in the Lakeville-Middleboro area.
Near the water is a natural place for eagles in the winter, Perkins said. They need to be near unfrozen bodies of water to hunt food.
The bald eagle is a “striking bird,” Perkins said, with the contrast between white and brown and bright yellow beak and talons.
“It’s our national symbol,” he said.
Mass Audubon will hold the annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival on Feb. 13 at the Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport.
READ MORE about Mass Audubon.
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