Bald Eagle Recovery in Vermont

Learn about Audubon Vermont's role in Bald Eagle Recovery

Your eagle spotting skills are needed for the 2017 Mid-winter Eagle Survey!  From January 4-18, 2017, we hope to document as many eagles in Vermont as possible for this annual count. 

If you see an eagle in Vermont during the survey period, please email the following information to Margaret Fowle at

  • date
  • location
  • time of day
  • number of Bald or Golden Eagles seen
  • approximate age of the eagles (i.e., adult Bald Eagle with white head and tail, or immature that is mostly brown)
  • any notable behavior (i.e., carrying nesting material, flying with another eagle, etc.)

Bald Eagles are making a strong comeback in Vermont and throughout the U.S.  Audubon Vermont works with Vermont Fish & Wildlife to coordinate the winter eagle survey and helps monitor breeding eagles in the Connecticut River Valley. 

Bald Eagle numbers have increased substantially during the past 2 decades, and Vermont is now host to 21 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. Biologists Margaret Fowle and Mark LaBarr discuss the success of the 2016 breeding season on Across the Fence.

Audubon Vermont biologists work in partnership with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to coordinate the annual winter Bald Eagle Survey and locate and monitor Bald Eagle breeding sites in the Connecticut River Basin. The 2015 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 2015 winter survey.  A record fifty-one Bald Eagles (30 adult 20 immature, and 1 unknown age) were observed by designated observers on Vermont’s SSRs in 2015. This number is well above the record of 30 eagles reported in 2010.  Bald Eagles were located on  of the 14 SSRs surveyed including three routes along Lake Champlain, two along the Connecticut River, on the upper Winooski River, and on Lake Bomoseen.  2015 was the first year that an eagle was seen on the upper Winooski River route.  The area between the Champlain Bridge and Shelburne Point on Lake Champlain supported the largest concentration of Bald Eagles (16 adults, 11 immatures) in the state.  The overall numbers are well above totals of full surveys in recent years.

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, Vermont PBS's Outdoor Journal 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 or (802) 434-3068.

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