Bald Eagles are Making a Triumphant Return to the Chesapeake Bay Region

Now is the perfect time for sightings of our majestic national symbol. 

Bald Eagle Pair
Photo: Getty Images / Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography

If you live in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland or Virginia, you may want to keep an eye to the sky over the next few weeks. Bald eagles are pairing up to begin laying their eggs by the beginning of March, which means there will be plenty to spot over the next three weeks.

This season is especially exciting because bald eagles were once endangered in Maryland and the surrounding region. Before it was banned in 1972, the common pesticide DDT was causing eagle eggs to become thin and easily breakable, resulting in a major population decline.

Chris Eberly, executive director of the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership, told WUSA9 that today the population of bald eagles is estimated to be more than 1,400 pairs in Maryland and more than 3,100 pairs in the Chesapeake Bay area. These numbers are staggering considering just 45 years ago there were only an estimated 44 nesting pairs in the area.

Now, the Chesapeake Bay region is home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Though state-funded surveys of Maryland's bald eagle population ended in 2005, the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership has taken on the task by working with volunteers to find and monitor nests in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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"We have noticed a steady increase in the number of nests, especially as new nests are reported in areas closer to humans, including communication and cell towers," Eberly said. "In addition, we are seeing more nests that are fledging three eaglets, which was unheard of 20 years ago."

We couldn't be happier to see our national bird thriving once again!

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