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Super Bowl LVII: Montco native trying to save bald eagle population

Montgomery County native trying to save bald eagle population
Montgomery County native trying to save bald eagle population 01:42

PHOENIX (CBS) -- Many Philadelphians treat watching the Eagles like it's their job. In Arizona, watching eagles is an actual job for those trying to help save the bald eagle population in the state.

Just east of Phoenix, on the edge of the Tonto National Forest along the Salt River, members of the Arizona Game and Fish Department keep a very close eye on these guys -- bald eagles.

"We're out here monitoring the bald eagle nesting attempt on the lower Salt River," Kenneth Jacobson, raptor management coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said. "It's one of our 95 bald eagle territories. We've got relatively few here in Arizona so we keep a close eye on the ones that we have and do everything we can to help make sure they produce young and are successful for the year."

"Just like anywhere else, they're an indicator of the health of the ecosystem," Eagle Field Projects coordinator Kyle McCarty said. "They're a top predator. If their population is going down, we know that something is wrong."

In 1978, only 11 breeding pairs of bald eagles were found in the state.

Due to the hard work of the multiple state agencies, that number has increased dramatically to almost 100.

Individuals are hired by the state to keep a daily watch on nests along the salt river.

So you could say they are hired to watch the birds, including McCarty, an Eagles fan and Willow Grove native.

"So growing up near Philly, they were always my team," McCarty said. "They always will be my team even though I live in Arizona now, so yes, I'm definitely rooting for the Eagles. It's just a happy coincidence that I end up working with bald eagles. It's pretty cool. I've been dedicated to working on this bald eagle population here in Arizona for decades, so when there's a team named the Eagles, they have my support."

CBS Philadelphia Producer Andy Wheeler contributed to this report.

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