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Birds & Birding threatened and/or endangeredHawkwatchthreatened and/or endangered

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
credit: Eric Frommer/CCSA

Everything we know about the life history of Bald Eagles, including their migration, will develop slowly over the next few decades if the species continues to rebound from near extinction. The migratory patterns are difficult to characterize as different populations of the species follow a variety of seasonal movements. Many Bald Eagles that live in coastal areas exhibit no seasonal movements. As long as their favorite food is present (usually fish), they remain on territories all year. Populations from areas adjacent to coasts show a tendency to move to the nearest coast for the winter. Inland populations from northern Canada and the interior of Alaska migrate south to locations in the Great Plains and the Northwestern States.

The best place to see migratory Bald Eagles is at Hawk Ridge, Minnesota, where thousands of birds funnel into the wintering areas around the upper Mississippi River Basin. Although the numbers are generally highest in late October, there are many days interspersed throughout the fall with Bald Eagle counts of fifty or more.

Read more about the Bald Eagle.