While there are likely 125 more active bald eagle nests in the state than 15 years ago, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues to monitor this bird that once flirted with extinction.
Sandra Johnson, Game and Fish conservation biologist, said the department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings.
Johnson said eagles are actively incubating eggs in March and April, and it’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size.
“While bald eagles were removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007, it’s still important to keep an ongoing list of nesting birds to make sure they are not heading back the way they came,” Johnson said.
Historically, Johnson said eagle nests were found along the Missouri River. Now, they have been observed in more than half of the counties in the state, mostly near streams and mid- to large-sized lakes. However, they are also found in unique areas such as shelterbelts surrounded by cropland or pasture.
Johnson estimates the state has around 140-150 active bald eagle nests.
Nest observations should be reported to Johnson at ndgf.
Observers are asked to not disturb the nest, and to stay away at a safe distance. “It is important not to approach the nest as foot traffic may disturb the bird, likely causing the eagle to leave her eggs unattended,” Johnson said.