Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Bald Eagle Management Guidelines and Conservation Measures More Resources

Determining Whether Timber Operations and Forestry Practices May Disturb Nesting Bald Eagles: Step 2

Step 2. To avoid disturbing nesting eagles and their young, we recommend that you:

  • Avoid clear-cutting or removal of overstory trees within 330 feet (100 meters) of both active and alternate nests at any time.
  • Avoid timber harvesting operations, including road construction and chain saw and yarding operations, during the nesting season within 660 feet (200 meters) of the nest.  The distance may be decreased to 330 feet around alternate nests within a particular territory, including nests that were attended during the current nesting season but not used to raise young, after eggs laid in another nest within the territory have hatched.
  • Selective thinning and other silviculture management practices designed to conserve or enhance habitat, including prescribed burning close to the nest tree, should be undertaken outside the nesting season. 
  • If burning during the nesting season is necessary, do the following:
    • Conduct burns only when adult eagles and young are absent from the nest tree (i.e., at the beginning of, or end of, the nesting season, either before the particular nest is active or after the young have fledged from that nest). 
    • Take precautions such as raking leaves and woody debris from around the nest tree to prevent crown fire or fire climbing the nest tree.
  • Avoid construction of log transfer facilities and in-water log storage areas within 330 feet (100 meters) of active and alternate nests nest.


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Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines

Permit regulations to authorize limited "take" of bald eagles or their nests (pdf)

Bald eagle natural history and sensitivity (pdf)

Management at a Glance

Two factors most influence an eagle's response to human activity:

  1. The activity's visibility from the eagle nest and;
  2. The regular occurrence of similar activities near the nest.

General recommendations to avoid disturbing nesting bald eagles:

  1. Keep distance between the activity and the nest (distance buffers).
  2. Maintain forested or natural areas between the activity and the nest tree (landscape buffers).
  3. Avoid certain activities during the nesting season (timing buffers).

Last updated: May 22, 2013