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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Wildlife Resources > Animals > Bald Eagle > Bald Eagle Reintroduction Program Bald Eagle Reintroduction Program

Bald Eagle

The bald eagle project was the first endangered species restoration project initiated by Wildlife Diversity staff, in what was then called the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. Before the project's initiation, a study was done to determine if the restoration of bald eagles to Indiana was feasible. The study's results were favorable. So between 1985 and 1989, 73 bald eagle chicks were released at Monroe Lake in Monroe County.

Upon reaching adulthood at 4-5 years old, bald eagles return to within 50-100 miles of where they fledged. The purpose of returning is to nest. Indiana's first successful bald eagle nests in this century occurred in 1991 at Monroe Lake and Cagles Mill Lake. The state's last successful nest before then was in 1897. Loss of habitat and decreased reproduction due to pesticides, such as DDT, contributed to the bald eagle's disappearance from Indiana.

Bald eagle nesting was monitored and the young eagles were banded with leg identification tags to help track their movements. The number of nesting territories continued to increase. By 1998, there were nests on rivers and lakes from Tippecanoe County south to Posey County and east to Brown County. Bald eagles continued to do so well that they were delisted from state endangered to a species of special concern in 2008, and comprehensive surveys were discontinued after 2010. In 2014, there were an estimated 200-250 eagle nesting territories in Indiana.

Eagle Being TaggedTwo Eaglets

Table 1: Bald Eagle Nesting in Indiana

Year
Nesting Territories
Attempts
Successful Nests
Young Fledged
1989
2
1
0
0
1990
2
1
0
0
1991
5
3
2
3
1992
10
5
3
5
1993
12
9
4
7
1994
12
11
4
7
1995
15
13
11
17
1996
17
14
11
15
1997
18
15
9
13
1998
19
15
11
20
1999
21
20
12
19
2000
23
23
16
35
2001
27
27
20
27
2002
38
38
26
45
2003
47
45
33
63
2004
57
50
44
85
2005
63
62
47
87
2006
76
69
51
95
2007
84
78
64
121
2008
101
90
2009
94
90
2010
120
98

The bald eagle project is funded exclusively by donations to the Nongame Fund.