Bald Eagle Nesting Survey

The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife plans an aerial survey of bald eagle nesting sites during the late winter of 2023. You can help biologists plan for this survey by reporting bald eagle nests to the state.

State wildlife biologists perform aerial surveys every five years to assess breeding activity at historic nesting sites and to evaluate reported nest sites.

DNREC maintains detailed data on the locations of bald eagle nesting sites and breeding activity to gain the insight needed to inform conservation actions, management decisions and land use planning recommendations.

Make a Report

Use the Bald Eagle Nest Report form to add information about bald eagle nests you have spotted to the database. Biologists will confirm nest locations and breeding activity for the 2023 season.

Please only use the Bald Eagle Nest Report form. Reports will not be accepted via telephone or email.

About Bald Eagles

A montage of images showing the head of a bald eagle at different stages of life.

Bald eagles are arguably one of the most well-known birds in America. As adults, they have an unmistakable bright white head and tail and a dark brown body.

However, they do not gain the white head and tail until 4 or 5 years of age. (Learn more)

This often results in people mistaking immature bald eagles for vultures and hawks.

Bald eagles are often found near bodies of water. They use trees and other large structures as perches to hunt and roost from.

Most often, they eat fish but may feed on carrion (carcasses) or take aquatic birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

Spotting Their Nests

A view up the trunk of a large tree with a mass of sticks forming a large nest at the top.

Bald eagle nests generally nest in tall trees with good visibility. They can be as large as 6 feet in diameter and 4 feet tall.

Bald eagles lay one to three eggs at a time. Their nesting season in Delaware runs from mid-December through the end of June.

A Conservation Success Story

The recovery of the bald eagle is one of the greatest conservation success stories.

In the mid-to-late 1900s, the bald eagle population suffered from trapping, shooting and poisoning, and the widespread use of pesticides (particularly DDT) caused reproductive failure.

Because of population declines, bald eagles were protected under the US Endangered Species Act in 1978.

By the late 1990s, following the ban of DDT and mitigation of eagle poaching, breeding populations showed signs of recovery.

In 2007, bald eagles were removed from the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimated a population of 316,000 in 2021.

Although the population remains stable, the use of lead ammunition, motor vehicle and structural collisions and the loss of habitat (due to development and changes in land use) remain threats to the species.