USFWS Offices and Refuges Near You

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you »


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 and Golden Eagle Natural History


Photo courtesy of Mick Thompson; creative commons




Bald Eagle Natural History

Bald and Golden Eagles have fascinated humans for centuries. Their recovery from the brink of extinction is an American success story. Discover more about eagle natural history, feather and nest identification, and conservation measures you can take to help protect these magnificent American icons.


A few facts


  • The Bald Eagle is truly an all-American bird; it is the only eagle unique to North America.

  • Nests are sometimes used year after year and can weigh as much as 4,000 pounds

  • Bald Eagles may live 30 years in the wild (even longer in captivity)

  • Bald Eagles pair for life, but if one dies, the survivor will accept a new mate.

  • In hot climates, like Louisiana and Florida, Bald Eagles nest during winter

  • Bald eagles get their distinctive white head and tail only after they reach maturity at 4 to 5 years of age.


Fact Sheet: Natural History, Conservation and Recovery


Biology and Natural History National Eagle Center


What Laws Protect Eagles?



Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Identification


ID Tips: Is That Golden Eagle Actually a Bald Eagle? Audubon Society


Golden Eagle Pointers Adobe PDF Icon PDF; National Eagle Center


Bald Eagle Plumage by Age Feathered Photography Blog Post


Eagle Feathers - Who can keep them?


Eagle Feather Identification Adobe PDF Icon PDF; US Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory,  Feather Atlas



Eagle Nests


Nest Identification: Picture guide to eagle nests and other large nests you may encounter.


Nesting Chronology of Bald Eagles in the Midwest


Nesting Date Calculator


Sensitivity to Human Activities - How to Avoid Disturbing Eagles


Eagle Roosts


Eagle Roosting Areas

More information on eagle roosts can be found in the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines.

Learn More


Status update on Bald and Golden Eagle Populations in the United States, 2016 PDF Adobe PDF Icon

A compilation of the most current research on the population status, demographics, and trends of bald and golden eagles. The report estimates population sizes, productivity, survival rates, and sustainable take; 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.


Northern States Recovery Plan PDF Adobe PDF Icon

The recovery plan, prepared in 1983, includes a nice summary of bald eagle life history.


1999 Proposed Rule to Delist the Bald Eagle PDF Adobe PDF Icon

The proposed rule includes a description of bald eagle life history that summarizes information from all five recovery plans.


Midwest Eagle