Arizona's bald eagles broke a number of breeding records this year, including a best-ever 66 young eagles making it to their first flight, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced last month.

The previous record for bald eagles fledging was 58, the department said in a news release.

At least 89 bald-eagle eggs were laid in the state, an increase of 16 over the previous record. Game and Fish biologists identified 76 breeding areas, including eight new areas.

Of course, these numbers only date to when Game and Fish became involved in the species' recovery. Bald eagles once were much more common in Arizona but later became an endangered species in the state, with only 11 pairs counted in 1978. Today, there are 59 breeding pairs in the state.

Arizona bald eagles were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2011 but are still federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Kenneth Jacobson, Game and Fish's bald eagle management coordinator, said the eagles "continue to surprise us and surpass all expectations for the population."

Bald eagles breed from December through June, but the season runs a little later at high elevations. A great place to spot them is at Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim.

Game and Fish recently produced a video on the current status of Arizona's bald eagles. You can watch that video here.

Photo: Betsy Batish Photography | Woods Canyon Lake