National Wildlife Refuge System

Bald Eagles


Bald eagle landing at a nest.
   Credit: Dave Menke
In 1963, there were only 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the entire lower 48 states. Today, there are more than 9,700 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48, and that number is growing every day.

In August 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bald eagle from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The recovery of the bald eagle is due in part to the reduced use of pesticides such as DDT as well as specific habitat protection and management actions.

Bald eagles gained protection under the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972. In 1962, an amendment added protection specifically for the golden eagle, and in 2008, bald eagles in the Sonoran Desert of central Arizona were returned to the list of threatened wildlife.

Last updated: November 7, 2012