Endangered Species Recovery

Bald Eagle Recovery in Vermont

Learn about Audubon Vermont's role in Bald Eagle Recovery
Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons
Endangered Species Recovery

Bald Eagle Recovery in Vermont

Learn about Audubon Vermont's role in Bald Eagle Recovery

Winter Bald Eagle Survey 2017

Bald Eagles have made 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 discussed 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 winter survey is conducted along 15 Standardized Survey Routes (SSRs) in January, and is coordinated by the Biological Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey. 

The 15 Standardized Survey Routes (SSR) were covered for the 2017 winter survey, with the exception of the northern part of the Lake Champlain Islands route.  Forty-eight Bald Eagles (24 adults, 21 immatures, and 3 unknown age) were observed by designated observers on Vermont’s SSRs in 2017 (Fig. 8, Table 3). This number is just below the record number of 51 eagles reported in 2015.  Bald Eagles were located on 7 of the 14 SSRs surveyed including 3 routes along Lake Champlain, 2 along the Connecticut River, and the Lamoille and Winooski Rivers.  The area between the Champlain Bridge and Shelburne Point on Lake Champlain supported the largest concentration of Bald Eagles (11 adults, 9 immatures, and 3 unknown) in the state.  

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 mfowle@audubon.org or (802) 434-3068.

Biologists Margaret Fowle and Mark LaBarr discuss the success of the 2016 breeding season on Across the Fence.

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