Breeding distribution of the Bald Eagle. Source: North American Birds Online, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Breeding distribution of the Bald Eagle. Source: North American Birds Online, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The recovery of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, is considered one of the greatest conservation successes of the 20th century.  The 44 nesting pairs counted in Maryland in 1977 represented an all-time low for the state.  As actions were taken to reduce the declines (e.g., banning harmful pesticides like DDT), Bald Eagle populations recovered to the point that they were removed from the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007. 

 

recovery at home

Today, the Chesapeake Bay region is home to the largest concentrations of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states, with an estimated 600 or more pairs currently breeding in Maryland. In 2014, three pairs were even found nesting within the District of Columbia!

Bald Eagle Breeding timing (phenology) in Maryland

The Bald Eagle nesting season in Maryland starts in October, with pair formation and construction of large stick nests in the upper crotch of tall trees.  Eggs are usually laid in February, but pairs in southern parts of Maryland occasionally start laying their eggs in January.  The clutch of 1-3 eggs usually hatch by mid April, and the nestlings fledge out of their nest in May-June.

You can learn more about the natural history of Bald Eagles at Encyclopedia of LifeCornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds, and Birds of North America Online.

Nest Cams

You can observe the breeding behavior of Bald Eagles and other raptors on numerous nest webcams, some of which we have compiled here for your enjoyment.