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Conserving the Nature of America
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
Bald Eagle Nesting Data
Photo by Jeremy Moore; USFWS
Since the bald eagle was listed under the Endangered Species Act, the number of nesting bald eagle pairs and productivity (number of young fledged per nest) have been monitored throughout the lower 48 states.
This effort was a partnership of state and federal surveyors, and produced an excellent data set which was used to develop the population table, map and chart in the links below. Follow these links to see how bald eagle numbers have responded since DDT was banned and the Endangered Species Act was passed.
Breeding Pairs in Lower 48 States: 1963 to 2006 (graph and table)
Breeding Pairs by State (PDF map)
Bald and Golden Eagles: Population demographics and estimation of sustainable take in the United States, 2016 update
As eagle populations rebounded and eagles were no longer listed as endangered, many state and federal agencies ceased or scaled back on yearly eagle nest surveys, in order to put conservation funds towards other imperiled species. While it is still important to know actual nest locations to avoid human impacts, biologists have changed the methods of estimating overall eagle populations. Rather than yearly nest counts and productivity surveys, biologists are using population data to model trends and manage the population. Nest surveys are still conducted to ground-truth these model predictions.
In 2016 the Fish and Wildlife Service released a compilation of the most current research on the population status and trends of bald and golden eagles. The report estimates population sizes, productivity, and survival rates; cumulative effects to local area populations; and effects of unauthorized take of golden eagles. This report serves as the biological basis for the Service’s regulatory management framework.