The southern end of the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail will be closed through June to protect a pair of nesting bald eagles, according to the state Department of Energy Environmental Protection.
This eagle pair first nested along the canal trail in 2011 and had two chicks, but nesting attempts in 2012 and 2013 were unsuccessful.
“Although bald eagle numbers are increasing in the state, the birds are still a state threatened species and need our protection,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said in a statement. “Because disturbance can cause the adult eagles to abandon their nest, causing the eggs or chicks to die, it is necessary to close the trail until the chicks can fly.”
DEEP and Ahlstrom Nonwovens LLC , which maintains a lease agreement with the state, will only keep the trail closed until the young eagles have reached flying stage, which is expected to be in mid-June 2014.
If the nest fails or the young can fly before the end of June, the trail will be opened earlier.
While the trail is closed, visitors can still walk or bike the trail from the northern section for about two miles until they come to a gate and are instructed to turn around. The southern end of the trail will remain closed.
Nesting bald eagles returned to Connecticut in 1993, after an absence of almost 50 years. More information about bald eagles is posted on the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Web site.