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Bald eagles found nesting in Indianapolis, other urban areas

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- The bald eagle, a species once wiped out in all of Indiana, is showing up and breeding even in cities, including Indianapolis.

The Department of Natural Resources knows of four active nests in the greater Indianapolis area. Officials say as they have seen the birds' population grow, there is less space around rivers and lakes to nest so bald eagles are becoming city-dwellers.

The DNR estimates 300 pairs are breeding across the state. That is thanks to an effort in the 1980s that released 73 eaglets in Indiana. One of those pairs built a nest along the White River not far from I-465 on the north side of Indianapolis.

Users of a park popular among mountain bikers and runners have witnessed the eagles nesting for the past three years.

Two eaglets appear to have hatched in the spring of 2018.

WISH-TV was asked to not disclose the specific location of the nest as the people who manage the trail are concerned for both the safety of a possible influx of on-lookers and the disturbance of the birds.

Amateur photographer and trail user, Derek Dailey has captured images through this breeding season. He shared them with members of the trail's Facebook group and on his Instagram account "Phattire72."

"I was in awe of seeing them because I've only seen them before when I've been on wilderness trips up in northern U.S. and Canada so it's pretty spectacular to see them here in Indiana," Dailey said. "I think it's great that we're in a city and I hope it encourages people to get outside more and actually enjoy nature that we have."
 
The DNR highlighted another successful urban pair in Greenfield, Indiana which has been documented on the Facebook page Greenfield Eagle Watch.

The U.S. government removed the bald eagle from the endangered species list in 2007. It is a protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

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