ELK RIVER (AP) — The National Park Service says bald eagles are making a modest comeback in Minnesota.

In the Mississippi National River Recreation Area, officials counted 36 active nests, up from 28 last year.

The growth suggests the river is clean enough to produce plenty of fish and fowl for eagles. The birds' growing population also means more residents have a better chance of seeing the majestic birds in flight.

Siah St. Clair is the director of the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley. He says eagle activity was aided by a warm winter that left the river open for them to fish, instead of flying south to find open water.

Mark Martell of the Minnesota Audubon Society says the overall eagle population seems promising.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.