Bald Eagle Recovery in Vermont

Bald Eagle numbers have increased substantially during the past 2 decades, and Vermont is now host to 16 territorial pairs. Increases in Bald Eagle populations have resulted from a combination of factors; these include the banning of DDT in North America, an effective reintroduction program and the protection of Bald Eagle breeding and wintering habitat through the Endangered Species Act.  Vermont conducted its own reintroduction program from 2004-2006, releasing 29 eagles in Addison, VT.  Vermont is close to reaching its recovery goals for downlisting from state endangered status to threatened.

Audubon Vermont biologists coordinate the annual winter Bald Eagle Survey and work with New Hampshire Audubon to locate and monitor Bald Eagle breeding sites in the Connecticut River Basin. The 2013 winter survey was conducted along 15 Standardized Survey Routes (SSRs) in January, and is coordinated by the Biological Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey. 

All 15 Standard Survey Routes (SSR) were covered for the 2013 winter survey.  Twenty-four Bald Eagles (12 adult and 12 immature) were observed by designated observers on Vermont's SSRs in 2013. This number is above the 21 eagles reported in 2012.  Bald Eagles were located on 7 of the 14 SSRs surveyed including three routes along Lake Champlain, two along the Connecticut River, on the lower Winooski River, and on the White River.  The area between the Champlain Bridge and Shelburne Point on Lake Champlain supported the largest concentration of Bald Eagles (5 adults, 7 immatures) in the state.  2013 was the first year eagles have been seen on the Waterbury to Lake Winooski River route (Table 5). The overall numbers remain comparable with totals of full surveys in recent years; however the ratio of adults to immature eagles was significantly different from past years with nearly 50% of sightings of immature bald eagles. 

Recently, Vermont Public Television did a small segment on the Bald Eagle Survey from Outdoor Journal program.  Since 1979 volunteers have been keeping tabs on bald eagles as part of Vermont Audubon's annual winter bald eagle survey. To learn more about the important role of citizen science in the state we went out with a group of volunteers during the 2014 bald eagle survey.  To view the video segment, click here.

For more information on Bald Eagles in Vermont, or to report sightings, contact Margaret Fowle at mfowle@audubon.org or (802) 434-3068.

 

Copyright  2013 National Audubon Society, Inc