Permit for Non-Purposeful Take of Eagles
Fact Sheet: Authorized Activities Involving Unintentional Eagle Disturbance ( 2-page PDF)
The Bald and Golden Eagle Act prohibits anyone from "taking" bald eagles. Among other actions, "take" includes disturbance of bald eagles to the degree that it substantially interferes with breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior or results in injury.
A permit can be issued for taking eagles when the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, an activity and cannot practicably be avoided. We refer to this type of take as "non-purposeful take." Authorization is subject to conditions to minimize impacts. The regulation authorizing non-purposeful take permits for bald and golden eagles can be found in the Code of the Federal Register 50 CFR 22.26
Eagles are unlikely to be disturbed by routine use of roads, homes, or other facilities where such use was present before an eagle pair nested in a given area. For instance, if eagles build a nest near your existing home, cabin, or place of business you do not need a permit.
How Do I Know if I Need a Permit for Non-Purposeful Take?
Is your project or activity near an eagle nest?
In general, if you are conducting a new activity or project near an eagle nest, you may need a permit for "non-purposeful" take.
Is your project or activity near an area where eagles roost or forage?
Eagles are not as sensitive to human disturbance during migration and winter as they are while nesting. However, wintering eagles congregate at specific sites year-after-year for purposes of feeding and sheltering. Eagles rely on these established roost sites because of their proximity to sufficient food sources. Permanent landscape changes may eliminate these "relied upon" areas and force eagles to seek out other wintering roost and foraging areas. Depending on the proximity of other suitable roost or foraging areas and the condition of the affected eagles, loss of these areas can harm eagles. In addition, human activities near or within communal roost sites may—although not physically alter the habitat—prevent eagles from feeding or taking shelter. In either case, the action may violate the Eagle Act's prohibition against disturbing eagles and a permit may be needed. If your activities may disturb roosting or foraging eagles, you should contact your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eagle biologist for advice and recommendations for how to avoid such disturbance and whether a permit is necessary.