Frequently Asked Questions
In August 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bald eagle from the list of federally endangered and threatened species. This action was the result of the population having met or exceeded recovery goals. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removed the bald eagle from the state list of threatened species on April 9, 2008. Monitoring surveys indicate that the population of bald eagles continues to do well, both nationally and in Florida.
Yes, the eagle is still protected by both the FWC and the USFWS. The state eagle rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.), and two federal laws protecting eagles, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA or Eagle Act). For more information about the federal laws, please visit the USFWS bald eagle web site or the Code of Federal Regulations – Eagle Permits.
The Florida bald eagle population and eagle nests have been protected through science-based land management, regulation, public education and law enforcement. Following the ban of the pesticide Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) in 1972, Florida's eagle population increased more than 300 percent over 24 years (or three generations of bald eagles).
To determine if a nest has been documented by the FWC, visit the FWC Historical Bald Eagle Nesting Areas map where you can search the nesting database. Report a new or previously undocumented bald eagle nest location to the Audubon EagleWatch Program. To learn more about the EagleWatch Program, visit their website.
The USFWS has developed guidelines for use of cameras at eagle nests. These guidelines should be followed to avoid disturbing nesting eagles, and cameras should not be installed at nests without first obtaining permission from the landowner. UAVs, or drones, should not be flown within 1,000 feet of a bald eagle nest during the nesting season in order to avoid injury to eagles or disturbance to nesting pairs.
The recommended buffer distance from an eagle nest is 660 feet. Before starting any project that has the potential to impact a bald eagle nest (e.g. land clearing, construction, timber harvest, etc.), you may check the FWC Historical Bald Eagle Nesting Areas map for documented eagle nests in the area. The database is not comprehensive, and does not take the place of an on–the-ground survey, but it is an excellent place to start. The USFWS Bald and Golden Eagle Management Page has additional guidance and links to federal permitting contacts.