Seasonal closures near Arizona waterways aim to boost population of bald eagles

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PHOENIX — Nearly two dozen areas around the state, including some popular recreation sites, are being closed to protect breeding bald eagles.

The Arizona Department of Game and Fish says the closures extend to 23 areas near rivers, creeks and lakes.

Bald eagles were listed federally as an endangered species in 1978. The birds recovered to the point they could be removed from the list in 2007.

Kenneth Jacobson of Game and Fish says the willingness of recreationists to stay clear of the eagles' breeding areas has helped the population grow.

Jacobson says Arizona has some 55 breeding pairs of bald eagles that are sensitive to human activity and low-flying aircraft. The birds begin rebuilding nests in December to prepare for laying eggs.

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