RICHMOND, Maine — A pair of nesting bald eagles on an island in the Kennebec River has produced the first documented case of four eaglets in the same nest in Maine, officials said Thursday.
The eagles had unsuccessful nesting attempts over the past two years but made up for it this year by producing four eaglets at the Swan Island Wildlife Management Area near Richmond, said Kendall Marden, wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“It’s a new milestone and it’s fairly exciting to see,” he said.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said there have been only three other documented cases of four eaglets in a single nest in the United States.
It’s common for eagles to lay one or two eggs, and occasionally three. When there are three, it’s not a sure thing that all of them will survive, Marden said.
In this case, the parent eagles were able to find enough food for all four eagles to survive and flourish. This week, they were stretching their wings and making their maiden flights from their nest 80 to 100 feet up a white pine tree, Marden said.
With 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles, Maine is home to the largest population of bald eagles in the Northeast. Bald eagles were plentiful enough that they were removed from Maine’s list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.