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Bald Eagle Population Exceeds 11,000 Pairs in 2007

Long-term trend for each state available for first time

 
Having collected the most recent census data from state and federal bald-eagle managers in each of the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia, the Center for Biological Diversity has determined that the 2007 bald eagle population is approximately 11,040 pairs. This is a nearly 1,300-pair increase from the 2006 estimate released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in May 2007. The bald eagle's spectacular return from 417 pairs in 1963 is one of the world's great conservation success stories.
 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the bald eagle's status from endangered to threatened in 1995 and is expected to remove it from the threatened list by June 29, 2007.

The Center has also collected the annual eagle counts in each state from 1967 to 2007 and provided a brief review of each state's conservation history. Such information has never been collected in a single site before. Scroll down or click on the map below to see population graphs and information for each state.

This web-report will be be continually updated as new 2007 eagle counts are completed. Click here to see how we collected the data.

Information and images on this page may be freely reproduced without permission. Please cite: Suckling, K. and W. Hodges. Status of the bald eagle in the lower 48 states and the District of Columbia: 1963-2007 (September 21, 2007 version). Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson, AZ.

Click on state for more information WA MT ME ND SD WY WI ID VT MN OR NH IA MA NE NY PA CT RI NJ IN NV UT CA OH IL DC DE WV MD CO KY KS VA MO AZ OK NC TN TX NM AL MS GA SC AR LA FL MI TX FL NC MI DC MD DE CT RI

Alabama
Historically, bald eagles were common along Alabama's Gulf Coast and the Tennessee Valley (73). The population dwindled throughout the first half of the 20th century and was extirpated from the state after a last nesting attempt in 1949. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources initiated a Bald Eagle Restoration Project in 1984, releasing 91 juvenile eagles between 1985 and 1991 (73). The first release was of four birds at Guntersville Lake in Jackson County. The first nesting attempt occurred in 1987, but was unsuccessful. Additional unsuccessful attempts occurred in 1988, 1989, and 1990 until in 1991 two nesting pairs successfully fledged young (73). Successful nesting has occurred in every year since, with the population steadily growing to 100 breeding pairs in 2007 (43, 73, 74). The eagle is now found throughout the state along major lakes and rivers.

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Arizona
The historic size of Arizona's bald eagle populations is not known. It was reduced to three pairs in 1970 (21). Due to elimination of DDT, habitat protection, and artificial boosts to reproduction through a nest watch and fostering program, the number of occupied nests increased to 43 in 2006 (21). The bald eagle of the Sonoran Desert is unique among all other bald eagles in that it nests during the wintertime. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed it as a separate population with its own recovery plan (120) until 1999, when the agency proposed to lump it in with all other eagles in the continental U.S. and delist it (124). The proposal was opposed by the former head of the multi-agency Arizona bald eagle recovery program and by a seven-member scientific peer review panel convened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (121, 122) and by environmental groups that petitioned to retain the southwestern bald eagle on the endangered species list in 2004 (123). Over the objection of its own scientists, the agency decision-makers decided to continue lumping the southwest population in with other eagles and to remove it from the endangered species list (22, 39). Complaining that the decision was politically motivated because it denied the existence of supporting information while omitting all references to the peer-review panel, the recovery team leader, and its own scientists, environmentalists filed suit in January, 2007 (119). The matter is still before the court as of June 18, 2007.

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Arkansas
The bald eagle was extirpated from Arkansas as a nesting species in 1930 and returned in 1982 to the White River National Wildlife Refuge (40). The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission initiated a reintroduction program in 1982 with eagles from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The population increased from one pair in 1982 to 80 pairs in 2007 (1, 2, 56, 96, 109, 130).

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California
At least 24 pairs of bald eagles nested on the eight Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California before they were extirpated in the mid-1950s (137). In their absence, golden eagles, which are not native to the islands established territories. As bald eagles primarily prey on fish while golden eagles focus on mammals, this change in the top predator had profound ecological impacts. The most visible was an upsurge in predation on island foxes, contributing to the listing of four subspecies as endangered. Between 2002 and 2006, Channel Islands National Park and the Institute for Wildlife Studies introduced 61 bald eagles to the northern islands, while relocating golden eagles to the mainland. In 2006, two pairs bred on Santa Cruz Island for the first time in over 50 years. Since1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Institute for Wildlife Studies and other groups introduced or fostered more than 100 eagles on Catalina Island (139). In 2007, a pair of bird introduced in 1986 and 1999 successfully hatched two chicks-the first unaided hatchings on Catalina Island since 1954. Statewide, California's nesting population increased from 19 pairs in 1973 to 200 in 2005 (1, 78, 93).

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Colorado
Bald eagles commonly nested in and around Rocky Mountain National Park as late as the 1950s (117). By 1974, just one pair remained in the state (93). The population remained perilously low through the 1970s and 1980s, began growing in 1986 and reached a peak of approximately 65 pairs in 2006 (2, 69, 93, 96). One-third of Colorado's nesting bald eagles occur east of the Continental Divide in the South Platte River watershed (115). Other breeding concentrations include the Yampa River upstream of Craig, the White River in the vicinity of Meeker, the Colorado River upstream of Kremmling, and La Plata and Montezuma counties.

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Connecticut
Bald eagles probably nested in Essex and Middlesex counties up until the 1950s (117), but no successful nesting occurred between then and 1992 when a pair produced two chicks in Barkhamsted, Litchfield County. In 1997, eagles began nesting on the upper Connecticut River; in 2007, chicks were hatched in New Haven, Litchfield, Middlesex, and Hartford counties, including the original Barkhamsted nest (127). The statewide population grew to 15 pairs in 2007 (1, 7, 8, 127).

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Delaware
Hundreds of bald eagles wintered along the Delaware River but by the 1960’s single sightings became rare (150). In 1973, only three breeding pairs were known (93). Aerial surveys of known and suspected nesting sites began in 1978, when they counted three unsuccessful nests. Through the Delaware River Basin Commission’s measures to preserve the water quality, healthy fish stocks and the habitat along the river, as well as the national ban on DDT, bald eagles have rebounded from 3 pairs in 1973 to 43 pairs in 2007. The upper Delaware River watershed is now home to the largest population of wintering bald eagles in the northeastern U.S. Bald eagles are monitored by the Delaware Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program under the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. There is still concern in Delaware, where eagles lack the larger forested areas of other states and face the increasing pressure on their habitat from development (70).

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District of Columbia
The last bald eagle in Washington, D.C. deserted its Kingman Island nest on the Anacostia River in 1946 (134). From 1995 to 1998, urban youth volunteers with the Earth Conservation Corps released four Wisconsin-born eaglets per year in the U.S. National Arboretum on the west bank of the Anacostia River. Several Corps members were killed in gang-related violence during the project (149). Three of the  released eagles-Tink, Bennie, and Darrell-are named after them. In 2000, eagles nested again D.C. on National Park Service land near the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers (135). From their perch 80 feet high in an oak tree, they can see the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral. The nest was active in all years through 2007 (89), but did not produce chicks in 2005 or 2006 (111).

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Florida
Florida supports the highest number of breeding bald eagles in the lower 48 states and represents roughly 10% (1,166 of 11,040) of the breeding population in the lower 48 states.  They currently nest in 59 of 67 counties in Florida (27).  Bald eagles were common in the early 20th century and populations around Tampa Bay and Merritt Island were called “some of the densest concentrations of large raptors anywhere on earth” (70).  Scientists noted the “heavy nesting failures” of eagles in Florida and “near extirpation” in Brevard county after 1950 due to direct persecution and DDT contamination.  Statewide breeding season surveys began in 1973 and recorded 88 pairs of eagles.  In 2006, surveys counted 1,166 breeding pairs.  However, Scientists note there are always nests missed in the count and the actual number is possibly 20% higher.  They add that “as development of Florida's coastal and freshwater riparian environments increases, the effects (direct and indirect) of pollution, loss of water quality, etc. accumulate as well, and the bald eagle will be among the first species to respond to these impacts.”

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Georgia
In the early 20th century, bald eagles were common along Georgia's coast and in the Okefenokee Swamp, less so in major river, swamps, ponds and wetlands in the lower Coastal Plain, and rare elsewhere (26). The species was no longer common by the late 1950s and by 1970 the only active nest was on St. Catherine's Island (26). In 1973, the same year the federal Endangered Species Act was created, Georgia enacted the Endangered Wildlife Act. Bald eagles were listed as a state endangered species in 1974. No nesting occurred in the state between 1971 and 1977. In 1978 the St. Catherine's Island nest was used again. In 1979, the Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division hacked two young birds from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center on Sapelo Island. The program was moved to the Butler Island in the Altamaha River delta in 1984 and expanded to Lake Allatoona, about 40 miles north of Atlanta, in 1988. Additional birds were released on Sapelo Island in 1993. By the end of the hacking program in 1995, 89 eagles had been reintroduced to Georgia. The nesting population reached 113 pairs in 2007 (107).

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Idaho
Idaho's bald eagle population increased from 8 nesting pairs in 1973 to 216 in 2006 (4, 93). The growth rate of occupied nests was especially strong between 2001 and 2006, suggesting the eagle population will continue significant growth, but the rate of nest failure in 2006 was also exceptionally high, which may signal a countervailing trend. The largest nesting group occurs in eastern Idaho along the North and South Forks of the Snake River and its tributaries (4). The next largest groups occur in northern Idaho in the Pend Oreille River drainage and the Kootenai River Valley. The North Fork of the Payette River, including Cascade Reservoir, also contains a significant nesting population. The remaining nests are scattered throughout central and southern Idaho.

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Illinois
The bald eagle was formerly a common nester throughout Illinois, so much so it appears on the state seal. It was extirpated sometime after 1918, recolonized the state in very low numbers by the early 1970s, and increased to about 135 pairs by 2006 (1, 93, 96, 104, 116, 128).

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Indiana
The bald eagle was extirpated from Indiana as a breeding species shortly after 1897 (114). In 1985, the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program began the Bald Eagle Reintroduction Project. Seventy-three eaglets were obtained from Wisconsin and Alaska between 1985 and 1989 and hacked in a secluded bay on Lake Monroe. The first successful nesting occurred in 1991 at Lake Monroe and Cagles Mill Lake. The population has since grown to at least 79 pairs in 2007 (31, 85). Most nests are located in south-central Indiana on larger reservoirs and along the Wabash and White rivers.

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Iowa
The bald eagle was formerly a common nester throughout Iowa, but was extirpated by the early 1900s due to habitat loss and persecution (25). The killing of adults and removal of nestlings, such as occurred at a long-occupied nest near Rowan in Wright County in 1877 was typical. The last nest known to be occupied occurred near Kellogg in Jasper County in 1905. Both eaglets were taken. Seventy-two years later, in 1977, a successful nest was found near New Albin in the Mississippi River floodplain. The population dramatically increased since then to 210 pairs in 2007 (1, 2, 25, 36, 38, 93, 96).

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Kansas
Bald eagles were never common nesters in Kansas, but were prominent enough that the town of Lecompton, in the Kaw Valley in northeast part of the state, originally named itself Bald Eagle (132). No nests were recorded between a sighting by John James Audubon in the Kansas River Valley near Leavenworth in the 1800s, and a single pair that nested at Clinton Lake in 1989 (118, 132). This pair produced an average of 2.5 young per year over the next 13 years, making it one the most productive in the nation (the national average is 1.6 per year) (132). The state's population is still small, but grew to 29 pairs by 2007 (118, 148).

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Kentucky
By the mid-1950s, only 5-10 nesting eagle pairs remained in Kentucky. No nests were recorded between then and the nest attempt by one pair in 1984. From there the population climbed to 50 pairs in 2007 (1, 2, 93, 96, 129, 130). The 19 successful nests in 2000 were all within 75 miles of sites where captive eaglets were released in Tennessee, suggesting hacking programs there have greatly assisted with bald eagle recovery in Kentucky (102).

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Louisiana
Only four eagle pairs were known in Louisiana in 1960 and five in 1973; by 2007 the population had skyrocketed to 337 pairs (37, 51, 52, 93, 96, 112, 113). Most nests occur along the Mississippi River Valley, the Gulf Coast and Sabine River. In 2006, Terrebonne Parish led the state with 69 active nests, followed by Assumption Parish with 36, St. Martin Parish with 31, St. Charles Parish with 29, St. Mary Parish with 27, Lafourche Parish with 21 and St. John the Baptist Parish with 19. Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), and Rita (2005) significantly impacted eagle habitat and historic nests, but had little effect on the number of nesting pairs (37, 52).

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Maine
Bald eagles were extremely common in coastal Maine prior to the 20th century (117), so much so that Casco Bay settlers fed them to hogs while other towns placed bounties on them (10). By 1908 there were fewer than 100 pairs in the state. Reproduction collapsed by the 1950s (117) and by 1967 when the bird was placed on the endangered species list, just 21 pairs remained (10). Fearing extirpation from the state, biologists aided reproduction in the 1970s and early 1980s by transplanting eggs, fostering chicks, and relocating eaglets from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The state Endangered Species Act was twice amended in the 1980s to better protect eagles from take and to protect essential habitat areas. The population grew to 414 pairs by 2006 (10). All 16 counties now support nesting eagles. Franklin County had the most nests in 2004, York County in 2006.

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Maryland
Maryland's nesting eagle population increased from 32 pairs in 1973 to 383 in 2004 (88). Eagles now nest in every county. Large populations of wintering eagles occur at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Aberdeen Proving Ground, and the Susquehanna River below Conowingo Dam. One Maryland nest which was used for over thirty years reportedly weighed 3,000 pounds.

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Massachusetts
Prior to the 1982 introduction of two eagles from Michigan to the Quabbin Reservoir, the last record of eagles nesting in Massachusetts was in Sandwich in 1905 (22). The two eagles were named Betsy and Ross by local schoolchildren. Betsy flew back to Michigan but Ross stayed, making history as part of the first territorial pair in 1987, the first nest-building in 1988, and one of the first two successful nests in 1989 (68). Between 1982 and 1988, 41 chicks from Manitoba, Michigan and Nova Scotia were hacked at Quabbin Reservoir (9). The state's population grew to about 25 pairs in 2006 and 2007 (9, 12, 13).

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Michigan
In the early 1900s bald eagles were distributed throughout Michigan, but by 1959 were largely confined to the northern half of the state (79). This slow decline accelerated in the 1950s as DDT became prevalent in the environment. By 1961, the state population was just 50 pairs (67), and a monitoring program was established (79). Funding and protection measures increased substantially with the creation of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and the state version in 1974. The population held steady at about 86 pairs through the 1970s, then grew steadily from the early 1980s to about 500 pairs in 2007 (66, 79).

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Minnesota
Censused eagle pairs in Minnesota increased from 115 in 1973 to 872 in 2005 (2, 23, 93, 96) which translates to an estimated actual growth of 149 pairs to 1,312 (23).

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Mississippi
Mississippi's bald eagles historically nested along the Mississippi River, the Gulf Coast and in Oktibbeha County. They were extirpated in the 1950s. A single pair recolonized the state in 1974 (142, 144). A state reintroduction program was initiated in the 1980s to expand the population. By 2007, the state population had climbed to about 40 pairs (142, 141).

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Missouri
Bald eagles were common in Missouri in the early 1880s (11), but were reduced to fewer than 50 pairs by 1939 (117) by habitat destruction and purposeful killing. One New Madrid trapper boasted in 1907 of having killed 487 eagles over a 37-year span (11). Eagles were extirpated as a nesting species from Missouri by the 1950s (11). From 1981 to 1990, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Dickenson Park Zoo released 74 eaglets into the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (southeast Missouri) and the Schell-Osage Conservation area northwest of Eldorado Springs (11). Many of the birds stayed, and nesting first occurred in 1983 (97). The statewide population increased to at least 150 pairs in 2007 (97).

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Montana
The Montana Bald Eagle Working Group, comprised of representatives from federal and state agencies, tribes, universities, conservation groups, and private industry, was formed in 1982 (76). In 1994 the group developed a "Montana Bald Eagle Management Plan" to provide information and guide landowners and resource managers in conserving eagle habitat. The population increased from a low of 12 pairs in 1978 to 325 in 2006 (1, 2, 3, 76, 93, 96).

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Nebraska
In the late 1800s, the bald eagle was a common breeding bird along the Missouri River Valley and in Gage County, Nebraska, but was extirpated as a breeding species by 1900 (117). It was listed as an endangered species under the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1978. Eagles began building nests in Nebraska in the mid-1980s, but the first chick was not hatched until 1991 on the Platte River in Douglas County. The first successful fledging occurred in 1992 on the Middle Loup River in Sherman County. By 2006, the nesting population had grown to 44 pairs (91).

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Nevada
In 1866, bald eagles nested at what is now Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge in Pyramid Lake and at Marlette Lake and Lahontan Reservoir in northern Nevada (136). Between 1985 and 2005, nesting was attempted, but failed on the Carson River, Salmon Falls Creek, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, and Ruby Valley. In 2007, a pair nested at Lahontan Reservoir, two others in Humboldt County, and one or two in the Lake Tahoe Basin (68).

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New Hampshire
Lake Umbagog was the site of the last eagle to nest in New Hampshire in 1949 (117), and the species' recolonization in 1988 at what was by then the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge (14). The Umbagog pair was New Hampshire's only nesting pair until joined in 1998 by a new pair at Nubanusit Lake in Hancock. By 2006, 12 pairs nested in four of the state's major watersheds (Androscoggin River, Connecticut River, Great Bay/Coastal, and Merrimack River) with only the Saco River watershed still lacking nesting eagles. The Lake Umbagog nest is still active.

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New Jersey
The bald eagle was reduced to 10 nesting pairs in New Jersey by 1959 and a single pair by 1971 (117, 15). In 1982, after Bear Swamp, the state's only active bald eagle nest, failed to produce viable eggs for at least six consecutive years, state biologists removed the only egg, artificially incubated it, and returned the fostered eaglet back to the nest (15). The strategy was necessary because DDT had thinned the egg shell too much to support the weight of incubating adults. Artificial incubation continued at the Bear Swamp nest until 1989 when a new female, apparently uncontaminated with DDT, took over and was able to hatch her own eggs. In 1983, state biologists began a hacking program that introduced 60 young eagles by 1991. The statewide population rose to 65 pairs by 2007.

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New Mexico
Conclusive evidence of historical nesting in New Mexico is lacking (13). The first documented attempt was a failed nest in Catron County in 1979, the next in Colfax County in 1987 (13, 92). Two to three nests were active each year between 1988 and 2004. The population increased to four pairs with the discovery of a nest at Quemado Lake in Catron County in 2005, but the nest failed and was not reused. Two pairs nested in 2006, and it appears the number will be the same in 2007. The three Colfax County pairs nest adjacent to, and prey upon, prairie dog colonies (13).

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New York
Bald eagles commonly nested in New York in the 19th century, began declining in the early 1900s, were rare by the 1950s, and dwindled to virtual extirpation in the 1960s (117). By 1974, the state population consisted of a single, non-reproducing pair in Livingston County (131). To save the species, New York instituted the first systematic reintroduction program with a combination of egg transplants, chick fostering, and eaglet hacking. Though unable to produce their own eggs, the Livingston County pair successfully accepted and fledged eight foster eagles over a five-year period (131). Between 1976 and 1988, 198 eaglets (mostly from Alaska, but also from the Great Lakes) were brought to New York and hacked into the wild. The first reintroduction consisted of two birds at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, which was believed to be free of DDT. After 13 years of hard work, the eagle population began to expand on its own, jumping from three pairs in 1988 to about 123 in 2007 (16, 17, 30, 96, 147). The state reintroduction program ended in 1988, but New York City recently took up the cause, releasing 20 Wisconsin-born eaglets in Ironwood Hill Park at the northern tip of Manhattan between 2002 and 2006 (133).

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North Carolina
Bald eagles were common in North Carolina’s coastal lowlands and at Knott’s Island, Currituck County, Roanoke Island, Cape Hatteras, Onslow and Bladen Counties. A single active nest was known in 1962. In 1982, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission began the North Carolina Bald Eagle Project (65). Twenty-nine juvenile eagles were released from artificial nests near Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County between 1983 and 1988. In 1984, North Carolina’s first post-DDT wild bald eagle nest was documented just seven miles from Lake Mattamuskeet. Eagles steadily grew to 41 breeding pairs by 2006.

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North Dakota
The North Dakota flag features a bald eagle holding an olive branch and a bundle of arrows in its claws. In its beak, the eagle carries a ribbon with the words " One nation made up of many states." Eagles commonly nested along the Missouri River, Red River, Devils Lake and the Turtle Mountains into the early 1900s (117, 100). Sporadic nesting continued at extremely low numbers, but ended in 1975 (100). Nesting eagles reappeared in 1988 with a nest on the Missouri River in McLean County. The state's population remained at one or two birds through 1996, then steadily grew to at least 35 pairs in 2007 (1, 2, 93, 101). Current breeding is concentrated on the Missouri River, Red River and Devils Lake (101).

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Ohio
Common in the 19th century, nesting bald eagles were rarely seen in Ohio after 1922 (117) and reduced to just seven pairs in 1973 and four in 1979 (93). The population grew to at least 158 pairs in 2007 (63, 71). In 2005, Brown County on the Ohio River recorded its first bald eagle nest (57). In 2006, eagles nested (though unsuccessfully) for the first time in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 70 years (71). Statewide, most nests are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but a growing number are found well inland, including Delaware State Wildlife Area in Delaware County, Mercer Wildlife Area in Mercer County, Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area in Marion and Wyandot counties, and Knox Lake State Wildlife Area in Knox County. Eagles can also regularly be seen at Pickerel Creek State Wildlife Area and surrounding bays in Sandusky County, Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and adjoining Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ottawa and Lucas counties, Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve in Erie County, Mosquito Creek State Wildlife Area in Trumbull County, Dillon State Park in Muskingum County, and various areas along the Scioto River (57).

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Oklahoma
Between 1950 and 1990, Oklahoma's nesting bald eagle population consisted of one to two, and often no, nesting pairs (2, 48, 75). Between 1984 and 1990, the state hacked 90 eagle nestlings from Florida into the wild. The statewide population grew from zero to 60 breeding pairs between 1990 and 2007 (1, 2, 48, 49, 50).

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Oregon
Oregon's breeding bald eagle population increased from 20 pairs in 1971 to about 500 in 2007 (5, 146). Eagles now nest in 32 of 36 counties and are especially common at Upper Klamath Lake, along the Columbia River below Portland, at Crane Prairie and at Wickiup Reservoir (136).

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Pennsylvania
The bald eagle was formerly a common nester on the shores of Lake Erie (117). By 1980, just three pairs remained in the state (32). With funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state released 92 Saskatchewan-born eaglets between 1983 and 1989 at Haldeman Island in Dauphin County and near Shohola Falls in Pike County (32, 33). By 2006, the state population had grown to 106 nesting pairs in 31 of 67 counties (34). Montgomery County had its first nest in 100 years in 2002 (33). Philadelphia had its first nest in 200 years in 2007, at old Philadelphia Navy Yard, but the nest failed (35). Most nesting occurs in Crawford, Mercer and Erie county wetlands, along the lower Susquehanna River in Chester, Lancaster and York counties, and in the Poconos and Upper Delaware River region (34).

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Rhode Island
There are no historical records of bald eagles nesting in Rhode Island (117). A single pair has nested at Scituate Reservoir from 2003 to 2007 (1, 93, 138).

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South Carolina
Bald eagles were formerly common in South Carolina’s coastal areas. They dwindled to one nest in 1964 (77). From 1974 to 2007, bald eagles increased from two breeding pairs to 227 (64, 77, 93, 95).

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South Dakota
Nesting bald eagles were extirpated from South Dakota for more than a century when a pair unsuccessfully attempted to nest at Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in 1992 and 1993 (24). The first successful nesting in recent decades occurred in 1993 at Karl Mundt National Wildlife Refuge when two young fledged (24). The statewide population increased to 46 pairs by 2006 (1, 2, 24, 105). 2007 saw the first nesting for many decades in the Black Hills near Deerfield Lake in the Black Hills National Forest (58).

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Tennessee
Bald eagles were extirpated from Tennessee between 1964 and 1983. A state reintroduction program was initiated in 1980. More than 300 captive-bred and translocated bald eaglets were released in Tennessee since the early 1980s – more than any other state (54, 102). The program aided recovery in Kentucky as well. While Kentucky’s lacked its own reintroduction program, 19 successful nests in 2000 were all within 75 miles of release sites in Tennessee. In 2007 six eagles hatched at the San Francisco Zoo were transported to Tennessee and slated for release into the wild (54). The state's population increased fom one pair in 1983 to about 115 in 2007 (102, 110).

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Texas
Bald eagles were relatively common nesters in the Panhandle, northeast, central and coastal parts of Texas through the early 20th century (44, 130). By 1970, the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine warned that “Saving the bald eagle may be beyond our powers” (143). The 1971 state population was just four pairs. Since then, eagles have repopulated the state on their own, multiplying to 160 pairs in 2005 (1, 44, 86, 93, 96). Regular nesting occurs along East Texas rivers and major reservoirs and the Panhandle and Edwards Plateau are being recolonized. The highest concentrations of nests are found on Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn, Livingston and Conroe reservoirs where man-made habitat has replaced some of the lost historical habitat (44).

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Utah
Nesting bald eagles were extirpated from Utah sometime before 1980 (117). The population grew from a single nest in 1983 to 11 in 2007 (1, 2, 45, 47, 117). A pair nesting on an artificial platform on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake has successfully reared 30 young since 1997 (46). Eagles currently nest in Dagget, Davis, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, and Wayne counties. Four of these nesting pairs have been active since 1983, 1988, 1991, and 1996 respectively.

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Vermont
The historical extent of eagle nesting in Vermont is not known, but the species appears to have never have been common there. Nesting was documented near Lake Bomoseen in the 1940s, but no nesting attempts were observed until a territorial pair appeared at Somerset Reservoir in 1998 (18). A nest was built nest near the North Springfield Reservoir in 2002, but no eggs were laid (18). Two nests were built in 2005 in the Connecticut River Valley, but no eggs were found (18). In 2006 Vermont became the last state in the Lower 48 to support active eagle nesting when an egg hatched in a nest on the Connecticut River (18). The nestling did not survive. As of June 10, 2007, this pair was rebuilding their nest, which had blown down during the winter, but had not attempted to nest (53). The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Federation, Outreach for Earth Stewardship, and Central Vermont Public Service raised and released 26 fledgling eagles in Vermont between 2004 and 2006 (18).

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Virginia
Prior to European settlement, the Chesapeake Bay may have supported the densest concentration of breeding bald eagles outside of Alaska (151). Virginia’s nesting bald eagle population declined to 32 pairs by 1973 (93). In 1977, the Chesapeake Bay Recovery Team was formed and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (then the Game Commission) and College of William and Mary began annual aerial surveys of nesting territories (151). One fly-over in late February to mid March counts active nests and a second in late April to mid May counts the number of hatchlings. Breeding eagles began to increase in 1981 and reached 560 pairs by 2007. 23.5% of nests were lost or damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

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Washington
Breeding eagles are found throughout Washington State near large bodies of water. Most nesting habitat is located in the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula coastline. Two-thirds of all nests occur on private land. The number of nesting pairs was stable at about 100 from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, then steadily increased to 835 pairs in 2005 (94, 126).

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West Virginia
There are no historic records of bald eagles nesting in West Virginia [42]. The first known nesting occurred in 1981 on the South Branch of the Potomac River in Hampshire County (19). The nest was continuously used until it was destroyed by a post-nesting-season storm in 1985. A second nest was found in 1987, and the state's population grew to 19 breeding pairs in 2005 (14 of them being successful) and 17 successful nests in 2006 (1, 41, 42). With the exception of a single nest in the Ohio River Valley in Hancock County in 2006, all nesting occurs in the Potomac River drainage in Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral and Pendleton counties.

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Wisconsin
Bald eagles bred throughout Wisconsin until the 1880s (140). By 1950 they were extirpated from the lower two-thirds of the state. The upper state population remained stable until DDT became prevalent in the 1950s, then began to plummet. By 1962, just 25 pairs remained (81). By 2006, the population had increased to 1,065 pairs (81, 140).

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Wyoming
Wyoming's nesting eagle population increased from six pairs in 1973 to an estimated 105 in 2007 (2, 82, 83, 84, 93, 145). An early projection of 185 nests in 2007 (59) will not be reached (145).

Sources
Photo © Robin Silver

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