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Canajoharie, NY ,

Photo by Rebecca Smith - A bald eagle stands on the edge of a nest it’s building with its mate along Route 5S in the town of Canajoharie.

Photo by Rebecca Smith - A pair of nest-building bald eagles perches high atop an evergreen tree in the vicinity of Route 5S in the town of Canajoharie.

Photo by Rebecca Smith - A bald eagle takes flight while its mate perches near the nest they’re building along Route 5S in the town of Canajoharie.

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Nesting eagles spotted locally

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - Updated: 8:55 AM

By LINDA KELLETT

C-S-E News Staff

CANAJOHARIE — A couple of lovebirds took nesting to new heights recently.

Literally.

Two bald eagles were spotted over Route 5S in the town of Canajoharie earlier this month, and a Fort Plain couple with a digital camera and a little patience were there to watch them build their love nest.

Montgomery County Undersheriff Jeff Smith said, “I had seen one on my way to work one day and told Becky about it. We went down and parked in the same general area where I saw them so Becky could get a glimpse.”

Clutching sticks that exceeded their 7- to 9-foot wingspan, the pair of raptors took turns working on the nest, Jeff said. 

“It looked like they were placing them,” he said. “They’d use their beaks and place things with their talons.”

He joked that one held its head “like it was telling the other what to do.” 

In an e-mail accompanying photos of the majestic birds, Becky said, “We thought it was really awesome to see and have them around.”

This wasn’t the first time that Jeff had seen eagles in the area. “Four or five years ago, I saw what I believed to be two of them hovering over the river in the area of the Tire Shop” — between Fort Plain and Canajoharie, he said.

Lori Severino, press officer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, in a Feb. 26 e-mail said the bald eagle is listed as a threatened species in New York. It has been removed from the federal endangered species list.

For interested bird watchers, she recommended two DEC websites: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/74052.html and http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7068.html 

As noted on the first site, the bald eagle is one of the largest birds of prey with a wingspan of 72 to 84 inches.

Their main prey is fish, however “they will take some mammals, waterfowl, seabirds and carrion, especially during winter,” noted the site.

When mating, the website notes the pair “soars high in the sky, begins a dive, and interlocks talons while descending in a series of somersaults. Bald eagles produce only one or two offspring per year, rarely three. In New York, the young fledge by mid- to late-summer at about 12 weeks of age. By 20 weeks they are largely independent.”

According to the website, the raptors generally make their nests high in a tall, live white pine tree near water. Nests are reused and added to each year. Over time, they can become eight or more feet deep, six feet across, and weigh hundreds of pounds, the site notes.

     

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