Bald Eagle Management

If you have observed damage to a bald eagle nest and/or a nest tree, please note the following:
  1. It is not uncommon for bald eagle nests to become damaged, dislodged, and/or destroyed during storm events.
    • The bald eagles will most likely rebuild the nest in the same tree shortly after returning to their breeding territory.
    • If it is possible (i.e. safe) to leave nest material on the ground, the eagles will often use these nest remnants when they rebuild.
    • Any nest material that is cleaned up should be promptly and properly disposed of. Federal law prohibits keeping or collecting eagle nests, feathers, and other parts.
  2. If both the eagle nest and nest tree were destroyed during the storm, the eagles will likely build a new nest in a suitable tree closest to where their nest tree was located.
    • Please email with the location of the nest (e.g. FWC nest ID, street address, or GPS coordinates) and report of nest and nest tree destroyed.
    • The largest trees remaining near the original nest tree should be protected and preserved to the extent possible to allow the eagles to re-nest upon their return to the breeding territory.    
  3. If a nest tree and/or trees adjacent to a nest tree have been severely damaged during the storm and present(s) a safety hazard, please refer to the USFWS eagle permitting website External Websiteor contact the USFWS Southeast Regional Office at:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Migratory Bird Permit Office
1875 Century Blvd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
Tel. (404) 679-7070
Fax (404) 679-4180

Eagles in tree

On April 20th, 2017, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved revisions to the state’s bald eagle rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.). The approved rule revisions eliminate the need for applicants to obtain both a state and federal permit for activities with the potential to take or disturb bald eagles or their nests. Under the approved revisions, only a federal permit is required. For permitting guidance, please see FWC’s eagle permit webpage.

The bald eagle, our national bird and a symbol of the United States, is a conservation success story. Today, Florida, has one of the densest concentrations of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states. While no longer listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the Florida Endangered and Threatened Species rules, bald eagles remain protected by both the state eagle rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.) and federal law. 

FWC staff is currently developing a Species Action Plan for the bald eagle.  This plan will replace the 2008 Bald Eagle Management Plan.  A non-regulatory conservation plan, the Species Action Plan will outline actions necessary to continue to maintain a stable or increasing population of bald eagles in Florida, in perpetuity. To be included in updates or provide feedback on the plan, please email A draft of the plan will be available for public review from August 30th - October 13th, 2017. The draft plan and recent bald eagle program changes were presented in a webinar Adobe PDF on September 28th, 2017.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife removed the bald eagle from the federal endangered and threatened species list in 2007. The USFWS continues to manage eagles under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. To learn more, visit the USFWS eagle website.


Additional Links of Interest:  

Locate an Eagle Nest Territory: Includes an interactive map, address search, export functions, and printable maps. New or undocumented nests may be reported to

Federal Guidelines for Activities near Nesting Bald Eagles: A self-guided key that allows you to determine if activities are likely to disturb eagles and whether a federal permit is needed. Federal permits are always required for removal of a bald eagle nest.

FWC Eagle Nest Monitoring Reports: FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute surveys bald eagle nesting territories in Florida. Data collected are used to determine the statewide breeding population size and trends.  The data is available in annual reports and in an FWRI published paper, Status of the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) breeding population in Florida, 2009-2014.

Volunteer your time to help monitor eagles: Audubon of Florida’s Eagle Watch program is a volunteer citizen-science group that conducts annual nest monitoring. Call 407-644-0190 or e-mail if you would like to participate.




FWC Facts:
Boats less than 16 feet long must carry at least 3 visual distress signals approved for nighttime use whenever they are on coastal waters from sunset to sunrise.

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