Living around Eagles

Eagles are our neighbors! There's a chance you may have eagles nesting or roosting nearby where you live. Here you'll find information on understanding, protecting, and living around eagles. From frequently asked questions about eagle nests, feathers, and more to guidance on best practices.

Bald eagle breeding pair in nest with chick
Cameras that provide live coverage of nesting bald eagles to the Internet have become a popular educational tool. However, because there is the potential for eagles to be disturbed by the process of camera installation and operation, or by people visiting the nest site, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife...
An adult bald perches on the edge of a large nest, watching over it's nestling
Are you planning an activity around an active, or in-use nest, or alternate, or inactive, bald eagle nest? Wondering if you need a permit? An incidental take permit can be issued for taking eagles when the take is associated with, but not the purpose of, an activity and cannot practicably be...

Bald Eagle Management Guidelines

National bald eagle management guidelines

These guidelines were developed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to advise landowners, land managers and others who share public and private lands with bald eagles about when and under what circumstances the protective provisions of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act may apply to their...

Golden Eagle Disturbance

Golden eagles may be sensitive to the presence and activities of humans and potentially easily disturbed. The Service has drafted a synthesis of scientific information on human disturbance of golden eagles.

Considering disturbance to golden eagles

Regional Guidance

bald eagle adult and juveniles in tree
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended buffers for creating no-disturbance zones around bald and golden eagle nests in California and Nevada.

Eagles and Home Construction in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho

If you're building a home in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, you can answer a few questions about your project or activity and eagles in the vicinity to self-determine whether or not you should apply for an eagle take permit, or whether you need further technical assistance from the Service.

Pacific Region Decision Tree

Found a Dead Eagle or Eagle Feathers?

For most people, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits possession of dead eagles and eagle parts, which includes eagle feathers.  If you find a dead eagle please answer the following questions before touching or moving the eagle:

  • Do you have reason to suspect the eagle’s death was intentionally caused by a human?
  • Do you believe the eagle was electrocuted?
  • Do you believe the eagle was shot or poisoned?
  • Does it appear that feathers or any body parts have been intentionally removed from the eagle?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “yes”, immediately call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement office at: (1-844-397-8477).

If the answer to all of the above questions is “no”, dead eagles and all eagle parts, including feathers, must be transferred to the National Eagle Repository unless otherwise authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Eagle Repository provides Guidelines for Shipping Eagles to the Repository.

Even if you only find eagle feathers, these feathers can't be kept, but must be transferred to the National Eagle Repository unless otherwise authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If you found an eagle in the Puget Sound Area, you are authorized to temporarily collect the eagle remains and transport them within 24 hours to the nearest drop-off center. Click here to view a list of drop-off locations available in the Puget Sound.

Eagle Nest Protections

Along with protecting eagles, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act also protects eagle nests. Eagle nests are protected at all times, not just when the nests are in use by eagles. This means eagle nests can never be removed or destroyed, no matter what time of year it is, without a permit.

More information on eagle nest removal permits:

An adult bald perches on the edge of a large nest, watching over it's nestling

A Federal eagle nest take permit authorizes the take of eagle nests in limited circumstances. Permits are available to individuals, agencies, businesses, and other organizations. This permit does not authorize possession of any eagle, eagle parts, or eagle nests.

This permit may be...

Eagle Feathers and Parts for Native Americans

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have used eagle feathers for religious and cultural purposes. Although for most people the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits possession of eagle parts, including eagle feathers, because of the significance of eagle feathers and other eagle parts to Native American heritage, and consistent with the government-to-government relationship between the United States federal government and federally-recognized tribal governments, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has undertaken policy and procedures to facilitate the collection and distribution of eagle bodies, feathers, and other eagle parts to Native Americans. This provides a legal means for Native Americans to acquire eagle remains for religious purposes, reducing the pressure to take eagles from the wild, and protecting eagle populations.

Native Americans may apply to obtain and possess eagle feathers and parts for religious and cultural purposes from our National Eagle Repository.

Mural representing Eagle Program at the Repository
The National Eagle Repository is a one of a kind facility, operated and managed by the Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The main purpose is to receive, evaluate, store and distribute dead golden and bald eagles, parts and feathers to Native Americans and Alaska Natives...


Understanding eagle characteristics is key to properly identifying them, which is important in determining what guidance and best practices to follow. Learn more by selecting one of our eagle species below.

Bald Eagle Fact Sheet

Golden Eagle Fact Sheet

Bald eagle up close with wing raised

A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

FWS Focus