Will My Activity Disturb Bald Eagles?
Habitat destruction is thought to cause greater reductions in bird and other wildlife populations than any other factor, and is still the most serious long-term threat.
AVOID Breeding Season January 1 – August 15
In the Pacific Northwest, bald eagles usually begin nesting in early January, with the young leaving the nest as late as mid-August. The nesting season extends from January 1 through August 15.
The best solution is to conduct new or intermittent activities outside the nesting season. If you can’t avoid the nesting season, minimize your impacts (see below).
MINIMIZE Visual and Noise Disturbance
Maintain a disturbance buffer around an active nest to reduce visual and noise disturbance associated with human activities near nest sites. Eagles are unlikely to be disturbed by routine use of homes, roads or home landscaping equipment when that use was occurring before an eagle pair successfully nested in an area.
Eagles are more prone to disturbance by activities that occur in full view. Reduce the likelihood of disturbance by locating activities as far from a nest as possible with visual barriers (such as hills, trees, or buildings) between you and the nest. Distance buffers in open areas will need to be larger than buffers in dense vegetation or other natural screening.
Eagles are more prone to disturbance by noise that occurs infrequently, unpredictably, or starts after nesting season begins (January 1). If your activity produces noise that the eagles have demonstrated a tolerance for outside of nesting season, the eagles are unlikely to be disturbed by that noise continuing during the nesting season. If your noise is intermittent (such as blasting or fireworks), avoid creating that noise during the nesting season (January 1 – August 15).
|Timber & Forestry
November 15 – March 15, wintering bald eagles congregate at specific sites year-after-year for feeding and sheltering. Bald eagles rely on these established roost sites because of their proximity to sufficient, dependable food sources. Disturbance of bald eagles at roost sites is disturbance under the regulation because human activities may deter eagles from feeding or taking shelter, thus decreasing the rates of survival.
Foraging Roosts are often near open water where eagles feed on fish and waterfowl; however, mammals are important in drier areas. Foraging roosts may be used year round.
Communal Roosts are areas where eagles congregate at night or during daytime during inclement weather. Most are within 1-mile of a foraging site; however, in some cases eagles may travel 30 miles or more! Communal roosts are in areas protected from wind and weather and are essential for survival. The same roost trees may be used year after year!
More Information For:
Home and Building Construction
Linear Infrastructure Construction (roads, trails, canals, power lines, and other linear utilities)
Vertical Infrastructure Construction (communication towers and other vertical structures)
Timber and Forestry Operations
Recreation - Motorized and Non-Motorized (hiking, camping, ATV use, and boating)
Other Activities Likely to Cause Disturbance …
Aircraft Use (Helicopter or Fixed-Wing)
Blasting or other loud, intermittent noise (including fireworks)
Mining or Oil/Natural Gas Drilling/Refining
Habitat Alteration (such as Shoreline or Wetland Alteration)