Number Of Nesting Bald Eagle Pairs Continues To Soar In Maryland
Majestic birds found for the first time within Baltimore City limits
ANNAPOLIS — On the eve of the nation’s birthday, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has good news about the nation’s symbol: the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in Maryland was documented at 383 pairs this year.
This is more than a 10 percent increase over last year’s record 339 nesting pairs and a nine times the number of nesting pairs in Maryland during the late 1970s. Department biologists have annually monitored nesting bald eagles in Maryland since 1977 when only 41 pairs were documented in the state.
“The bald eagle population in Maryland has definitely made a remarkable recovery over the past 28 years,” said Glenn Therres, DNR’s bald eagle biologist. “This recovery is the result of several factors, including the ban on the use of organochlorine pesticides, protection of nesting sites, and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. “Nesting eagles are primarily associated with the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, which provide an abundance of fish and other aquatic species for food and wooded shorelines for nesting” added Therres.
The Bald eagle pairs were found nesting in 21 Maryland counties and for the first time within Baltimore City limits. The largest concentrations of nesting bald eagles are on the mid-Eastern Shore and along the tidal Potomac River. Dorchester County leads all counties with 84 nesting pairs, followed by Charles County with 53 pairs. Pairs now nest at the largest reservoirs in Maryland, including Loch Raven, Liberty, Pretty Boy, Triadelphia, and Rocky Gorge. A few pairs also nest along the Potomac River from Washington, DC to Harper’s Ferry. For a complete list of nesting bald eagle pairs by county, see the attached chart.
The nesting population is slightly larger than the 383 pairs documented by DNR and could be as high as 400. “Because of the 15-mile restricted airspace around Washington, DC, we cannot monitor 12 nest sites during our aerial surveys” said Therres. “Two of the sites were monitored from the ground and nesting was confirmed.”
For more information about bald eagles in Maryland, visit DNR Online at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/baldeagle.html.