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Nesting pair of bald eagles confirmed in Crescent

| Friday, April 30, 2010, 12:00 p.m.

The state Game Commission has confirmed Allegheny County's first nesting pair of American bald eagles.

Officials are watching a nesting site in Crescent, near Edgeworth. The birds have been spotted near the Sewickley Bridge and on Neville Island.

"It had a white head, a black body and an enormous wingspan compared to other nearby birds," said Chris Luzier of Ambridge in Beaver County, who saw an eagle about a month ago.

The bald eagles' precise nest location is under wraps, said Gary Fujak, Game Commission wildlife-conservation officer for western Allegheny County.

"While bald eagles are not an uncommon sight as they hunt for fish in the three rivers area of Pittsburgh, this is the first confirmed nesting pair of bald eagles in Allegheny County," he said. "In order to protect the nest from disturbances, we are not going to disclose the exact location, and we are working with the landowner to keep the area secure."

There are 174 known nesting sites in 48 Pennsylvania counties, according to Game Commission statistics.

Since 1983, when only three nest sites were found, officials began restoring nesting sites.

In 2007, the federal government took the American bald eagle off its endangered and threatened species list, but the birds still are protected by law.

"Bald eagles receive federal protection under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which safeguard the birds and their nests from disturbances and destruction, and such acts carry heavy fines and penalties," said Game Commission Southwest Region Director Matt Hough.

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