VERNON, Vt. (AP) – Wildlife enthusiasts say they’re hopeful that at least one pair of eagles among several seen in Vermont may successful raise eaglets this season.

There is one pair that has raised eaglets in previous seasons that’s so close to Vermont that many would like to claim them. But their nest is on an island in the Connecticut River just below the Vernon Dam and that’s not officially inside state lines.

“Unfortunately, they’re on the New Hampshire side,” said Margaret Fowle of the National Wildlife Federation in Vermont. New Hampshire territory extends to the west bank of the Connecticut River.

So, Vermont remains the only state in the Lower 48 that does not currently support breeding eagles. Scientists say it’s been nearly 60 years since they can confirm that an eagle has hatched in Vermont.

Still, some people believe that might change because a pair has been seen farther north near the river.

“We do have a pair along the river north of here,” said Chris Petrak, a bird enthusiast in Newfane. “Last year, they were observed building the nest. This year they were observed carrying nesting material. It appears they might be incubating.”

The state has been keeping track of those birds, too. They nested last year but did not produce any young, said Lilla Lumbra of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “We have been keeping an eye on what’s going on,” Lumbra said.

The New Hampshire Audobon Society has been keeping track of eagles in both states and see signs of improvement in areas on the Connecticut River near dams. Eagles like those spots because the flowing water around the dams keeps them clear of ice in winter.

“It’s taken a long time but I think 10 years from now, there will be a breeding pair associated with every dam on the Connecticut River,” said Chris Martin, a wildlife biologist with the Audobon Society.

The last documented pair of breeding eagles was at Lake Bomoseen in Rutland County in the 1940s.

Information from: Brattleboro Reformer

AP-ES-04-01-06 1057EST