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Bald eagles, eaglets found nesting in arms of Arizona cactus

Biologists discovered a pair of eagles and their eaglets in the arms of a large saguaro during a recent eagle survey.

PHOENIX — For the first time ever, bald eagles have been officially recorded nesting in an Arizona saguaro cactus.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department revealed Wednesday that biologists discovered a pair of eagles and their eaglets in the arms of a large saguaro during a recent eagle survey.

“Sure enough,” Exclaimed Biologist Kenneth “Tuk” Jacobson, Arizona Game and Fish Department Raptor Management Coordinator. “We’ve got a pair of Bald Eagles with young, in a Saguaro nest which is quite spectacular given it’s the first time it’s been confirmed here in Arizona.”

Jacobson says the eagles are on a cactus near a central Arizona reservoir. He called the find “amazing.”

“It is very exciting to finally see a Bald Eagle nesting an a Saguaro cactus. I’ve been studying Bald Eagles for over 18 years at this point.”

Wildlife biologists have looked for decades for a sighting of bald eagles nesting in Arizona saguaro cacti. The significance is one of population.

“The fact that finally, after looking for 40 years for Bald Eagles nesting a saguaro,” Jacobson explained. “To finally have one, it definitely a testament to the fact that our population is growing.”

Typically, Bald Eagles prefer to nest in secluded, out-of-way places such as cliff faces. For Eagles to nest in a cactus is less then desirable for Eagles but signifies that the best spots are already taken.

It is sighting that Jacobson hopes becomes more commonplace.

“This is definitely a unique sight,” Jacobson said. “To be able to go out and see them nesting in a saguaro cactus, it’s absolutely amazing to see and exciting and I’m hoping this couple to be successful.”

According to officials, the last known mention of such a site was a 1937 record. There was no photographic evidence of this sighting, however.

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