Frequently Asked Questions

Are bald eagles still endangered?

In August 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 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 (FWC) removed the bald eagle from the state list of threatened species on April 9, 2008. The state eagle rule (F.A.C. 68A-16.002) went into effect in May 2008. FWC also adopted a state Bald Eagle Management PlanAdobe PDF which provides the framework for the conservation and management of the bald eagle in Florida to ensure its continued recovery.

Since the bald eagle is no longer an imperiled species, is it still protected? If so, what are the state and federal laws protecting the bald eagle?

Yes, the eagle is still protected by both the FWC and the USFWS. The state eagle ruleAdobe PDF  (F.A.C. 68A-16.002) outlines that it is illegal to disturb or take an eagle in Florida. There are 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 siteExternal Website . 

Who should I contact to report a potential violation of bald eagle regulations?

If you suspect a violation of the regulations protecting bald eagles, report it to FWC’s Wildlife Alert Program. Potential violations can be reported by calling 888-404-3922 or by submitting information online.

What is the current population status (both nationally and in Florida) of the bald eagle?

The USFWS estimates that the bald eagle nesting population in the lower 48 states is 15,548 pairs. Florida has approximately 1,500 bald eagle nesting territories and is home to more nesting pairs than any other state with the exception of Alaska and Minnesota.

What has contributed to the recovery of the Florida bald eagle population?

The Florida bald eagle population and eagle nests have been protected through science-based land management, regulation, public education, and law enforcement. Following 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). 

Will bald eagles in Florida continue be monitored?

The FWC Fish & Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) continues to conduct monitoring surveys of bald eagle nest territories in the state. The documented nesting population will continue to be monitored for the next 24 years in order to determine if the population stabilizes or increases over time. The survey is conducted each year from November to March using fixed-wing aircraft. In 2009, the survey was re-designed such that each nest territory is checked on a three-year rotation. This sub-sample approach allows FWRI to determine information about productivity and nest status, as well as statistically estimate population trends for the entire state. Data gathered from the nesting survey is critical to ensure the conservation objectives of the FWC Bald Eagle Management Plan are met. Annual reports are available online.

I found a bald eagle nest and want to know if FWC is aware of the location. Where is that information?

To determine if a nest has been documented by the FWC, visit the eagle nest locator  where you can search the nesting database. If a nest is new or undocumented, follow the directions on the web site to report the location. If you are unsure if the nest is documented by FWC, e-mail with the following information: the county the nest is located in, the global positioning system (GPS) location or nearest address, direction, and distance to the nest and your complete contact information. We will check our database to determine if the nest is new or previously undocumented.

I have a project and I am not sure if it will affect bald eagles. What should I do now?

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 online nest database 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 FWC website also features a technical assistance page, a list of activity types that may disturb nesting bald eagles, and links to state and federal permitting contacts. Contact the FWC Eagle Plan Coordinator if you have any additional questions or concerns.

I may need an eagle permit. What do I do now?

Go to the FWC eagle permitting web site for more information about state permitting. The FWC Eagle Plan Coordinator can assist you with interpreting the guidelines and confirming whether or not an eagle permit is needed. Please consult the USFWS bald eagle web siteExternal Website for further information about federal eagle permits.




FWC Facts:
To receive a no-cost Resident Disabled Person's Hunting and Fishing License, applicants must provide proof of being totally and permanently disabled.

Learn More at AskFWC