Top photo: Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County Maryland. Center: Adult bald eagle and chick in nest. Bottom: Two bald eagle chicks in nest. USFWS photos.
Bald Eagles Flourish on Army Site
Craig Koppie, Chesapeake Bay Field Office endangered species biologist, assisted Army personnel with their bald eagle nest surveys at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Harford County, Maryland.
APG is comprised of approximately 72,000 acres, half of which is about land and half water. APG has exclusive jurisdiction of that property which includes parts of Chesapeake Bay, Bush River and Gunpowder River. APG is home to 70 different organizations that conduct research, development, testing and evaluation.
During the post DDT era and subsequent recovery years that followed, bald eagles began to reoccupy forested habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region. Inclusive of the northern Bay, APG has become a unique bald eagle sanctuary because of its location to fresh water ecosystems and protected forested habitats. The installation now hosts the largest bald eagle nesting population on Department of Defense lands in the Chesapeake Bay and possibly, the nation.
The Army Garrison at the Aberdeen Proving including many other federal, state and private land owners, has been essential in recovery and long term protection of the species. As part of daily operations, the Army, in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Field Office, developed a Bald Eagle Management Plan requiring annual eagle nest monitoring each year. Assessments regarding eagle tolerance, acclimation and other behavioral interactions involving day-to-day military activities is could be applied toward long term management of bald eagles.
This most recent survey evaluated 41 sites, recording the location of the adult bald eagles, number of chicks per nest and estimated age of the young. Thirty-nine nests were active nests with 56 confirmed chicks. Two nests sites were not observable by air.
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