The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the southern end of the popular Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail has been reopened because the bald eagle nest there has failed due to undetermined causes.
“It is unfortunate news that the bald eagles that attempted to nest along the trail were not successful this year and the nest has failed,” said Jenny Dickson, DEEP Supervising Wildlife Biologist. “We hope that they will return next season and succeed.
“As a result, the section of the Windsor Locks Canal Trail closed to protect these majestic birds has been reopened earlier than scheduled and will be available for public use for the upcoming holiday weekend.”
Once in decline due to the effects of pesticides, nesting bald eagles returned to Connecticut in 1993, after an absence of almost 50 years. Twenty-three bald eagle pairs were documented in the state in 2011, and 21 of those pairs made nests. Two of the 21 nests failed, and the 19 successful bald eagle pairs fledged 29 chicks.
The DEP Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail is formed from a historic towpath built to bypass the Enfield rapids in the Connecticut River. The rapids provide a shallow area that is perfect for the bald eagles to find their preferred food of fish. Ahlstrom Nonwovens LLC maintains a lease agreement with the State of Connecticut to allow public access to the tow path.
Bald eagles are protected during the nesting season by Connecticut General Statute 26-93 and are protected on the federal level by the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The DEP Wildlife Division has published a fact sheet on bald eagles, which is available on the DEP Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.