Bald eagles are moving into the Valley

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Juvenile bald eagle at about 10 weeks old. Bald eagles don't get their famous white head and tail until they reach five years old. (Source: Salt River Project) Juvenile bald eagle at about 10 weeks old. Bald eagles don't get their famous white head and tail until they reach five years old. (Source: Salt River Project)
SRP tags eagles with cellular GPS units (Source: Salt River Project) SRP tags eagles with cellular GPS units (Source: Salt River Project)
(Source: Salt River Project) (Source: Salt River Project)
(Source: Salt River Project) (Source: Salt River Project)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona Game and Fish and Salt River Project are teaming up to help protect bald eagles that are now making metropolitan Phoenix their home.

The once endangered species is typically found near reservoirs in areas that are not highly populated. The young pairs are the ones moving into developed areas.

Their nests are being built within feet of high voltage power lines in Metro Phoenix. 

"They are showing up in areas where people didn't think they would show up. We are trying to adjust and learn to live with them there...and make sure that they are in a safe place in their environment," said Lesly Swanson, an SRP scientist.

The biggest concern is that their wingspan, being so large, will touch two different energized lines, which could be fatal for them. SRP says they can rebuild those power lines to make them safer for the birds.

 "We have to build new stuff that is friendly. Because when it was built, we didn't have to worry about bald eagles in the Metro Phoenix area," Swanson said.

The first step for SRP and Arizona Game and Fish is tracking the eagles' moves every moment. Scientists have put a cellular tracking device weighing three and a half ounces on the birds to get up to the minute data on where they spend their time within the Phoenix area.

"That transmitter is going to give very precise data on where this bird moves and where this bird perches and we are going to be able to look at how they use the urban environment. Look at those habitats and improve and identify areas with potential dangers areas and improve survival. It gives us a chance to help these birds before anything bad can happen to them," said Kenneth Jacobson, Raptor Management Coordinator for Arizona Game and Fish.

So far, SRP and Arizona Game and Fish have tagged one bald eagle with the tracking mechanism and there are five more in line to be tracked. 

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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