Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Bald Eagle Management Guidelines and Conservation Measures More Resources

Determining if Construction or Development Activities May Disturb Nesting Bald Eagles

If the nest is visible from the project or activity area, we recommend the following:

  1. Maintain a buffer of at least 660 feet (200 meters) between project activities and the nest (including active and alternate nests). If a similar activity is closer than 660 feet, then maintain a distance buffer as close to the nest as the existing tolerated activity.
  2. If the activity is closer than 660 feet due to an existing similar activity then restrict all clearing, external construction and landscaping activities within 660 feet of the nest to outside the nesting season, which is August through January. The nesting season in the Northeast is generally from mid-December to June for states in the Chesapeake Bay (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) and as late as January through July for other Northeast states.
  3. Maintain established landscape buffers that screen the activity from the nest.

If you can implement the recommendations, click here. If you cannot, click here.

If the nest is not visible from the project or activity area, select the category that most closely fits your activity.

  1. If your project involves any of the following construction or development activities, click here.

    • Building construction, 1 or 2 story, with a project footprint of ½ acre or less.
    • Construction of roads, trails, canals, power lines, and other linear utilities.
    • Agriculture or aquaculture – new or expanded operations.
    • Alteration of shorelines or wetlands.
    • Installation of docks or moorings
    • Water impoundment


  2. If your project involves any of the following large construction or expansion activities, click here.

    • Building construction, 3 or more stories.
    • Building construction, 1 or 2 story, with project footprint of more than 1/2 acre.
    • Mining.
    • Oil and natural gas drilling and refining.
    • Installation or expansion of marinas with a capacity of 6 or more boats.

Other Guidelines

  • Voluntary measures to take during recreational activities that help to avoid disturbing nesting bald eagles and their young
  • Guidance to determine the likelihood of disturbing nesting bald eagles during new or intermittent activities (other than recreation)
  • Additional conservation measures to benefit and promote the conservation of bald eagles
Back to the introduction

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines

Permit regulations to authorize limited "take" of bald eagles or their nests (pdf)

Bald eagle natural history and sensitivity (pdf)

Management at a Glance

Two factors most influence an eagle's response to human activity:

  1. The activity's visibility from the eagle nest and;
  2. The regular occurrence of similar activities near the nest.

General recommendations to avoid disturbing nesting bald eagles:

  1. Keep distance between the activity and the nest (distance buffers).
  2. Maintain forested or natural areas between the activity and the nest tree (landscape buffers).
  3. Avoid certain activities during the nesting season (timing buffers).


Last updated: January 31, 2014