The number of bald eagles in Arizona continued its upswing in 2016, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced recently.

This year, a record 65 pairs of eagles in Arizona produced a total of 78 chicks out of 93 eggs laid, the department said. That's up from the 59 breeding pairs in the state in 2015, and a big jump from 1978, when only 11 breeding pairs were counted in Arizona.

As the Payson Roundup reported this month, a Game and Fish nest-watch program, which aims to protect bald eagles' nests from disturbances while the eagles are raising their young, may be among the reasons for recent successes.

Bald eagles in Arizona typically nest along the Salt and Verde rivers, and at isolated spots such as Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim. The breeding pair at that lake is considered among the state's most reliable for producing chicks. Depending on the season, you might be able to spot the eagles on the loop hike around the lake.