Today is census day in Massachusetts — for bald eagles, that is. State officials, volunteers, and even a helicopter on loan from National Grid will count the population of the national symbols, which nearly disappeared in the 1950s and '60s and were only reintroduced to Massachusetts in 1989.
Last year's count found there were 71 eagles nesting in the wild in Massachusetts. That represented a small decrease from the 81 counted in 2009, but still way up from the 1990s.
The revival of the bald eagle in Massachsuetts has been one of the region's most visible conservation success stories, according to a 2007 column by the Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson. Other parts of New England have been a bit slower: in 2006 Vermont became the last state in the lower 48 to successfully reintroduce the birds. Nationally, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007.