New Jersey bald eagle population grows by 5 pairs

Bald eagle soaring over New Jersey's Cape May

Bald eagle soaring over New Jersey's Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. (Credit: Don Freiday / USFWS)

TRENTON - A new survey shows New Jersey's bald eagle population added five new nesting pairs in 2015, bringing the total to 161 across the state.

A survey from the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, which used data from the state Department of Environmental Protection shows the New Jersey eagles bred 199 young last summer, enough to sustain their recovery.

The eagles have been recovering in New Jersey since 1970, when there was just a single pair in the state.

The pesticide DDT contributed to the eagles decline and by 1963, 487 nesting pairs remained in the lower 48 states.

The eagles began a comeback after the pesticide was banned in 1972.

By 2006 there were nearly 10,000 pairs in the lower 48 states.

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