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
Community Science

Vermont Bald Eagle Sighting Form

When submitting sightings, please record any notable behavior, such as carrying sticks to build nests. Thanks for your interest in Vermont's eagles!

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 breeding season monitoring efforts. 

Bald Eagle numbers have increased substantially during the past two decades, and Vermont is now host to 36 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 has reached its recovery goals for state threatened status and has been proposed for downlisting from endangered 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. The two-week winter survey is conducted along 15 Standardized Survey Routes (SSRs) in early January, and is coordinated by the Biological Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey. 

All 15 Standardized Survey Routes (SSR) were covered for the 2020 winter survey.  A record 68 Bald Eagles (38 adults, 23 immatures, and 7 unknown age) were observed by designated observers on Vermont’s SSRs in 2020 (Fig. 8, Table 3). This number is well above the high numbers counted in 2015 and 2017 (51 and 48, respectively).  Bald Eagles were located on 7 of the 15 SSRs surveyed including 3 routes along Lake Champlain, 2 routes along the Connecticut River, Missisquoi River, West River, Sherman Reservoir, and Lake Bomoseen (Table 4). The area between the Champlain Bridge and Charlotte on Lake Champlain supported the largest concentration of Bald Eagles (7 adults and 9 immatures) in the state.  

Since 1979, community scientists have been keeping tabs on bald eagles as part of Vermont Audubon's annual winter bald eagle survey. In 2019, Audubon Vermont and the Fish & WIldilfe Deparment started a formal community science effort to monitor breeding eagles throughout the state.

For more information on Bald Eagles in Vermont, contact Margaret Fowle at mfowle@audubon.org or (802) 434-3068. To report sightings to Audubon's portal, visit https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/fnKoNpJyCEC_ynnwSgjxbg2. To report sightings to eBird, see instructions in the link below.

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

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