Title: Eagle's Nests and Airports
Bald eagle nest lies atop an oak tree near Martin State Airport in Maryland. Photo by Leopoldo Miranda , USFWS
Bald eagle nest lies at the top of a large tree near Martin State Airport in Maryland. Photo by Leopoldo Mirands, USFWS

Nest Removal Safer for Bald Eagle Pair and Airport

A Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologist, climbed 80 feet up an oak to remove a bald eagle nest along a forest edge near an active runway at Glenn Martin State Airport, a joint military-civil airport near the town of Essex MD.

Along with officials of the Airport Management Authority and the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the bald eagle pair, including potential offspring, could be a hazard to airport safety. The birds have been observed standing and loafing on or near the runway and are frequently noticed flying at low heights over the runway as they approach their nest.

Because it is still early in the nesting season, the bald eagle pair will have time to construct a new nest or relocate to an alternate nest location. 

Bald eagle checks out activity around its nest at Martin State Airport in Essex, MD. Photo by Leopoldo Miranda, USFWS
Bald eagle checks out activity around it's nest at Martin State Airport in Essex, MD. Photo by Leopoldo Miranda, USFWS

Our national symbol, the bald eagle population fell into steep decline after WWII due to widespread use of the pesticide DDT, which accumulated in eagles and caused them to lay eggs with weakened shells. Concerns about the bald eagle resulted in its protection in 1967 under the predecessor to the current Endangered Species Act. The eagle was one of the original species protected by the ESA when it was enacted in 1973.

The legal protections given the species, along with a ban of the use of DDT in 1972, provided the springboard for the Service and its partners to accelerate recovery through captive breeding programs, reintroductions, law enforcement efforts, protection of habitat around nest sites and land purchase and preservation activities, leading to the robust population levels seen today. The Service reclassified the eagle from endangered to threatened in 1995 and removed the bald eagle from the list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

CBFO biologist Craig Koppie explains the nest removal process to local media.
Photo by Leopoldo Miranda, USFWS
CBFO biologist Craig Koppie explains the nest removal process to local media. Photo by Leopoldoo Miranda, USFWS

Bald eagles are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940. Under the requirements of the Eagle Act any “take” of bald and golden eagles – which include disturbing or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs – must be authorized via a permit.

For more information contact:
Craig Koppie
Chesapeake Bay Field Office
410/573-4534
craig_koppie@fws.gov

 

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