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.