Bald Eagles in New Hampshire

The majestic bird calls the Granite State home

By Roman Collier
  March 17, 2014

Bald eagles are legally protected in New Hampshire. Possession and take (which includes harming, harassing, injuring and killing) is illegal.

Distribution: Statewide

Description: 3' tall with a 6-8' wing span. Females weigh up to 14 lbs; males weigh 7-10 lbs.  Immature bald eagles are mottled light brown, tan, and white until age 3 or 4.  They have brown eyes, a black beak, and yellow feet.  Adult bald eagles have a distinctive white head and white tail feathers, and a dark brown body and wings.  Their eyes are pale yellow and the powerful beak and unfeathered feet are bright yellow.

Commonly Confused Species: Immature bald eagles can be confused with golden eagles or osprey.

Habitat: Bald eagles breed in forested areas near bodies of water and winter near open water (i.e. coastal areas, rivers, and lakes with open water).

Life History: Bald eagles can live up to 30 years old and can begin breeding between 4-6 years of age. They build large nests in tall trees near the water’s edge. Females lay 1-3 eggs in the spring. Both the male and female incubate the eggs and young hatch after five weeks. Bald eagles often retain the same mate for many years and reuse the same nest from year to year. Bald eagles primarily eat fish, but will also supplement their diet with a wide variety of small animals and with carrion.

The Concord Monitor recently reported that Bald Eagles are making a comeback in the Granite State.

During a January bald eagle count, volunteers with New Hampshire Audubon set a new state record. On Jan. 12, they counted 67 eagles in five regions, the most in one day in the event’s 30-year history. The previous high was 61, which had been recorded three times since 2008. Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 volunteers counted 83 birds, one shy of the state record for the annual two-week watch.

“The bird is finally almost fully recovered from a real depressed population back in the 1970s,” said Chris Martin, a senior biologist and predatory bird specialist with New Hampshire Audubon.

Source: Concord Monitor

Have you recently seen a Bald Eagle in New Hampshire? If so, would you consider sharing your story on My Granite State? Write an article about your encounter and we'll publish it. Were you able to snap any pictures? If so, we'd love those as well.