Bald Eagle Project
Project Goal: To monitor bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest sites and high-use wintering areas annually to obtain measures of population status and productivity. Implement population management actions and provide technical expertise and/or training to individuals and organizations to further the goal of conserving and protecting New Hampshire’s bald eagle population.
Timeline: Bald eagle monitoring and management activities have been conducted in NH since 1980. In 1988, one newly-formed territorial pair initiated nest-building at a historical site located on Umbagog Lake in Coos County. For nearly a decade, from 1988 through 1996, this site was the only known territorial pair documented in the entire state. Beginning in the late 1990s, New Hampshire's breeding bald eagle population began to expand gradually with new territorial pairs becoming established throughout the state on a nearly annual basis.
Description: Monitoring and management of bald eagles in New Hampshire is carried out by the NH Audubon (www.nhaudubon.org) working under contract with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. NH Audubon recruits, trains, and deploys volunteer observers to document eagle distribution and productivity during the summer breeding season. Some highly visible nesting areas are roped off and informational signs are posted to minimize human disturbance to breeding pairs and their young. Biologists climb trees, band young and obtain biological information on some young eagles each year.
Each winter NH Audubon coordinates two eagle counts to provide an index of the abundance and distribution of bald eagles in the state during the wintering season. New volunteer recruitment and training for eagle survey participants occurs each year in November and December, prior to the winter eagle-watching season.
Funding: Private donations have provided the foundation for the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program since its inception in 1988. Contributions support the on-the-ground work and also enable the Nongame Program to qualify for additional funding through grants from both the State of New Hampshire and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Donations made to the Nongame Program are matched dollar-for-dollar by the State of New Hampshire up to $50,000 annually. Please help keep this project going by donating to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. (Click here to donate)
The Nongame Program also receives a portion of proceeds from the sale of the NH Conservation License plate (moose plate) each year. To learn more please visit the NH Moose Plate Program online at www.mooseplate.com.
Volunteering: Volunteers are used to monitor the breeding locations of bald eagles across the state. Volunteers are also needed to help count bald eagles during the winter. Contact New Hampshire Audubon to learn more about these opportunities: www.nhaudubon.org or (603) 224-9909.
Outcomes: New Hampshire had 15 territorial pairs of bald eagles during the 2008 summer breeding season. Of those, 13 pairs incubated eggs and 12 of the pairs were successful at fledging a total of 24 young. In 2008 biologists were able to positively identify 3 breeding bald eagles by reading the bands on their legs. One is an 11-year old male from Massachusetts now breeding at Nubanusit Lake in Hancock; another is an 11-year old male from Massachusetts breeding at Squam Lake in Moultonborough; and a 10-year old male from New York is breeding at Pontook Reservoir in Dummer.
Between 1988 when bald eagles first began nesting again in NH and 2008, a total of 107 bald eagle chicks have fledged from nests located across the state.
- Bald eagle and other Nongame Program news
- Bald eagle profile
- Wildlife Action Plan bald eagle profile