Florida vs California: Which Has More Bald Eagles Roaming Its Skies?

by duceditor

Bald eagles are majestic, and large birds found in North America. These large flying birds are very important to the environment. They also have a lot of cultural significance. For example, these birds are one of the main symbols of the United States. Although they are found all across the United States, they are more common in some states than others. What about Florida vs California? Are there more eagles in California? Where do these large predatory birds live? Keep reading to learn more!

How Many Bald Eagles Live in Florida?

There is no competition between Florida vs California when it comes to the bald eagle population. There are a lot more bald eagles in Florida. Although Florida isn’t the state with the most bald eagles, there are about 1,500 pairs that live along coastal areas, rivers, and lakes. Florida also has some of the best places to spot bald eagles. It’s a great state for bird watching. Some great places to see bald eagles in Florida are Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. 

A Bald Eagle flying with the backdrop of one of Alaska's glacier's Grewingk.There are about 1,500 pairs of bald eagles in Florida.


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Bald Eagle Conservation Efforts

Bald eagles are very protected in the state of Florida. They were removed from the USFWS endangered species list and the FWC imperiled species list in 2007 and 2008. Although populations are stable in the state, they are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In Florida, bald eagle nests are tracked carefully. If you see an eagle nest, you should contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Eagle nests are common in Florida near bodies of water. They are mainly found along the coast or in Central Florida.

How Many Bald Eagles Live in California?

Sadly, there aren’t as many bald eagles in California as there are in Florida. Instead, experts estimate there are about 400 pairs of bald eagles living in California. Still, this is a large increase from 2009, when there was less than a third of the number of eagles in North America. Some places you can spot bald eagles in California are Point Reyes National Seashore, Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. The best time of year to view these majestic birds in California is between December to March. 

bald eagle perched on columnAt least 400 pairs of bald eagles live in California.


Bald Eagle Conservation Efforts

So, what is California doing to protect these symbolic animals? Although this beautiful predatory bird isn’t federally endangered, it’s still considered endangered in the state. Bald eagles once flew throughout the state. Sadly though, by the 1970s, there were only about 30 bald eagle pairs left in California. Bald eagles struggled to nest and increase their population here because of contaminants from DDT pesticides. This pesticide was banned in the United States in 1972 as it was dangerous for many animals like peregrine falcons and brown pelicans. Under California law, the bald eagle is a fully protected bird. Although other causes led to the population decline, most of the blame is due to the pesticide. However, the population also declined because of overdeveloping, lead poisoning, and human disturbances.

There have been many attempts to increase the bald eagle population in California. For example, dozens of bald eagles were re-introduced to the state and brought to Santa Catalina Island starting in the 1980s. The Avian Conservation Center in the San Francisco Zoo from the San Francisco Zoo also helped with recovery and conservation efforts by hatching and releasing 103 eagle chicks on the Channel Islands of California. Although there is still much to be done, the bald eagle population in California is recovering. Currently, you can find these large birds in 41 of the State’s 58 counties, compared to 8 back in 1977.

What is the Bald Eagle’s Role in the Ecosystem?

Bald eagles are important for the environment and contribute a lot. These stunning birds are natural predators and keep prey and predator populations stable. They are also opportunistic feeders and consume dead animal matter. Without bald eagles, their prey can increase, disrupting the ecosystem and food chain further.

Bald eagles also don’t have to worry about predators, because they are at the top of the food chain. However, although rare, there have been recorded instances of bears killing bald eagles.

animals unique to North America: bald eagleBald eagles are an important part of their ecosystem. Without them, specific animal species increase and decrease drastically. Bald eagles also consume dead animal matter, speeding up the decaying process.


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