How to avoid nest disturbance, also known as a loss of productivity.
When is a permit recommended?
If your activity is greater than 660 feet from a bald eagle nest, or half a mile for loud activities such as explosions, your activity is unlikely to bother bald eagles to the degree that causes nest abandonment and a permit may not be recommended.
Please note: Bald 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 bald eagles build a nest near your existing home, cabin or place of business, you do not need a permit.
Time of Year
(except blasting and other extremely loud activities)
330 to 660 feet
330 to 660 feet
330 to 660 feet
Outside of breeding season
Activity that will not be noticeable when the eagles return (tree trimming, pipe installation, etc)
Outside of Breeding Season
Tree clearing, building structures
Before you contact your regional Migratory Bird Permit Office for assistance, please have the following information prepared:
- Location of the bald eagle nest (latitude/longitude)
- Location of the planned project
- Type of project planned and long-term plans for the project
- Distance between the project and the bald eagle nest
- When the project will occur (what year, which months)
- How long the project will take
How do I know where eagle nests are located?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not keep records of the locations of bald eagle nests; you are responsible for determining if there are eagle nest(s) near your project. The state, tribe(s) or others may have records of bald eagle nests in your area. Please use caution when querying any eagle nest databases. Information in these databases is often out of date - bald eagle nests may no longer exist, and or, new eagle nests may not be in the database. If you suspect there may be eagle nest(s) in your area, the best approach may be to survey the area for nests. You can start by familiarizing yourself with what bald eagle nests look like and examining the area. It may also help to ask neighbors in the area, and or, hire a biological consultant to determine this for you.
How do I know when bald eagle nesting season occurs?
Bald eagle nesting season varies by area of the country. To view a chart of nesting stages and dates, please review the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines.
For additional information, see the frequently asked questions associated with Eagle Take – Associated with but not the Purpose of an Activity (INCIDENTAL TAKE) Permit Application Form (Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, 50 CFR 22.26).
Please note: These are general recommendations for land management practices that will benefit bald eagles, the document is intended primarily as a tool for landowners and planners who seek information and recommendations regarding how to avoid disturbing bald eagles. Many states and some tribal entities have developed state specific management plans, regulations, and or, guidance for landowners and land managers to protect and enhance bald eagle habitat; we encourage the continued development and use of these planning tools to benefit bald eagles.