DEEP: Bald Eagles in Connecticut

Bald Eagles in Connecticut

{Bald Eagle Header}

 
Greetings Eagle Watchers!
 
The DEEP Wildlife Division monitors wintering and breeding bald eagles in Connecticut. All of these efforts are completely reliant on volunteers and represent thousands of hours of time generously donated to help us keep tabs on an important wildlife species.
 
• The dates for the 2019 Midwinter Eagle Survey are January 11th and 12th (Friday and Saturday). We would like to target the 4 hour window of time between 7AM and 11AM on Saturday, January 12th, 2019.
 
• If you don’t have a survey site or aren’t sure, please email Brian at brian.hess@ct.gov to be assigned one.
 
• Return your results by February 1st at the latest.  Please mail the datasheet (2 pages) and any maps or notes to:

Midwinter Eagle Survey
Sessions Woods WMA
PO Box 1550
Burlington, CT 06013
 
 
2018 Year End Summary of Bald Eagles
 
The DEEP Wildlife Division monitors wintering and breeding bald eagles in Connecticut. All of these efforts are completely reliant on volunteers and represent thousands of hours of time generously donated to help us keep tabs on an important wildlife species.
 
Midwinter Eagle Survey Results
The Midwinter Eagle Survey took place on January 13, 2018. During the morning of the survey, the rain cleared and the temperature plunged, starting in the 40s and ending in the 20s. Nearly 200 volunteers participated, monitoring 457 miles of shoreline at 142 observation sites throughout the state.
This year’s count was a record high, likely due to an icy December and an increasing bald eagle population. The mean daily average at Bradley International Airport during December was 29°F in 2017, colder than the 32°F in 2016 and the 43°F in 2015. This year, an immature golden eagle was also confirmed during the count.
 
{graph of Midwinter Eagle Survey data}
This figure shows the number of bald eagles seen during the Midwinter Eagle Survey since its inception Connecticut in 1979.
 
Bald Eagle Breeding Season Results
The 2018 breeding season was hampered by a devastating series of thunderstorms on May 15, 2018, that destroyed three eagle nests and resulted in the failure of one other. The 2018 breeding season also saw a rare successful re-nest after a nest with eggs collapsed in early March. The pair successfully rebuilt the nest, laid a new egg, and fledged one chick.
 
Despite these setbacks, Connecticut’s eagle nests produced a record 68 chicks in 2018. With the banning of DDT in the early 1970s and the return of breeding eagles to the state in 1992, Connecticut nests have produced at least 556 chicks.
 
{graph of eagle nests and chicks}
 
This figure shows the number of bald eagle nesting territories and chicks in Connecticut over the past 10 years.
 
DEEP Wildlife Division biologists banded 12 young eagles in spring 2018. Past banded birds were sighted as far north as Vermont and as far south as West Virginia. {Bald eagle chick in nest}
 
You Can Still Help!
 
Even though the breeding season is over and wintering eagles have not yet returned to Connecticut, autumn is still a great time to see eagles. Adult eagles sometimes repair and build their nests during fall, and all birds will be venturing out, looking for easy food sources.
  • Eagle nests become more visible once leaves fall from the trees. Report an eagle nest or nesting behavior (like carrying sticks). Web Form (Survey Monkey) or email brian.hess@ct.gov (phone: 860-424-3208)
  • Report banded eagles at www.reportband.gov or email brian.hess@ct.gov (phone: 860-424-3208).
  • Please give eagles space. Bald eagles are protected by state and federal law.
  • Respect private property and area closures.
Bald Eagle Nesting Season Summaries (PDF)2018   2017   2016   Nests by Town 2018
 
 
Don Hopkins Remembered
The Wildlife Division would like to acknowledge and remember Don Hopkins, who passed away August 8, 2018, at the age of 92. Don founded the Bald Eagle Study group in 1975, contributed immeasurably to our knowledge of eagles in Connecticut, and was a dedicated conservation partner and friend to the bald eagle. He will be greatly missed. Read an article about Don and his accomplishments in Connecticut Wildlife Magazine.
 

 
{Bald Eagle}
 
Further Readings:                                        
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Content last updated December 12, 2018.