Jump to content
Ornithology Exchange (brought to you by the Ornithological Council)

USFWS proposes increased bald eagle take

Recommended Posts

This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released revised limits for how many bald eagles can be killed by industry and others under incidental take permits issued by the agency pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. 

In 2016, the agency used eagle count data from 2009 to develop a nationwide population estimate of 143,000 bald eagles. Recently, the agency conducted additional surveys and employed other methods to develop a new population estimate of bald eagles, with a population size of 316,708 individuals. The new estimate only accounts for birds in four out of six established 'eagle management units'. Due to financial and logistical concerns, the current bald eagle population in Alaska was not estimated. Additionally, the population in the southern portion of the Pacific Flyway is small and patchily distributed, making aerial surveys impractical there. For these two areas, the take limits will remain at the 2016 levels until the USFWS can conduct additional analyses. The USFWS has determined that while some of the increase in the estimates of nationwide population size from 2009 to 2019 is due to improvements in counting methods, the majority of the increase is likely due to population growth, at around 10 percent per year.

In 2016, the take limit was set at 6 percent of the population. The new take limit will be 9 percent. However, the actual number of birds taken is generally lower than the set limit. Actual permitted bald eagle take was 490 in 2020. Also, the take limit is not based on the overall population estimate itself but on the 20th quantile of the probability distribution.

The changes in population size combined with the new take rate will result in an annual maximum take limit in the four EMUs of 15,832 bald eagles. The new limits will be effective as soon as the notice is published in the Federal Register. 

The USFWS published rules regarding eagle incidental take in 2009 and revised them in 2016Last year, the agency announced an effort to streamline the process of obtaining a take permit. 

About the Ornithological Council

The Ornithological Council is a consortium of scientific societies of ornithologists; these societies span the Western Hemisphere and the research conducted by their members spans the globe. Their cumulative expertise comprises the knowledge that is fundamental and essential to science-based bird conservation and management. The Ornithological Council is financially supported by our member societies and the individual ornithologists who value our work. If the OC’s resources are valuable to you, please consider joining one of our member societies or donating directly at Birdnet.org. Thank you for your support!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...