There are too many bald eagle nests for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to count on its own and it needs the public’s help.
The agency used to release bald eagle nest numbers around July 4, back when the birds were state-threatened, but a comeback from just three nesting pairs in 1983 to more than 300 nesting pairs today changed all of that.
“The population has expanded to a point where tracking individual nests is not feasible,” said Sean Murphy, the state ornithologist with Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The eagle population steadily rebounded after the commission’s reintroduction of the charismatic raptors in the 1980s. The birds, which were nationally endangered after DDT decimated the population, were delisted as threatened in Pennsylvania in 2014.
Success aside, bald eagles continue to be protected by the U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act that, among other things, prohibit taking of the birds, nests or eggs, Murphy added.
This is where the public’s help comes in.
“In order to protect every bald eagle nest in the state,” said Murphy, “the PGC relies on partners and the public to report new and active eagle nest sites.”
Eagle nesting occurs from January through August. The public can monitor and report activity to the commission by using its online survey tool: https://pgcdatacollection.pa.gov/baldeaglenestsurvey.