Baby bald eagles born in man-made nest in Arizona

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SALT RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. -- A man-made nest for bald eagles on the Salt River Indian Reservation is finally proving successful results.

Two eaglets hatched in March from the nest site.  According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the birds have already taken their first flight from the nest as well.

The "Orme" bald eagle breeding area was discovered by biologists in 1987.  From 2001 to 2008, the bald eagle pair that used the breeding area successfully led to 15 young birds.

But in 2009, biologists discovered the nest wasn't producing young eagles.  Two nestlings jumped from the nest and ended up on the ground.  Biologists found the birds were covered in ticks that were slowly killing them.  They discovered the ticks were living in the branches for the nest. 

After unsuccessful attempts to get the ticks out of the nest, Game and Fish re-built two man-made nests from the old nest tree.

The male and female eagles used one of the man-made nests this year, and two young birds flew for the first time.

Arizona's bald eagle population has grown by nearly 600 percent since 1973, when the bald eagles were first listed as endangered.

In about another month, the baby birds should leave the nest for good and be independent.  Biologists hope the breeding pair will return to the nest again.