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Bald Eagle

(Haliaeetus leucocephalis)
Banded June 13, 1996 Southern Indiana
by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Non-game Wildlife Program

Bald Eagle Restoration in Indiana


The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Non-game Wildlife Program is working to restore Bald Eagle Populations in Indiana. Between 1985 and 1989, 73 young eagles were released at Lake Monroe in southern Indiana. The number of active nests and young fledged has increase yearly since 1988. One of the research activities important to keeping track of Bald Eagles is the banding procedure shown in the following photographs.


An Eagle Nest
Figure 1 - An Eagle Nest


Adult Eagle at the Nest
Figure 2 - Adult Eagle at the Nest


Active nests are routinely monitored. When the young eagles are 5 to 6 weeks old, their legs have reached full size and the bands can be safely applied.

Someone must climb high into the nest to retrieve the young birds and lower them carefully to the ground. Here, this procedure is being done by Al Parker of the IDNR.

Entering the Nest
Figure 3 - Entering the Nest


Eaglet, 6 weeks old
Figure 4 - Eaglet, 6 weeks old


The baby eagles are placed in a specially designed canvas bag for lowering and raising them to the nest (See also Fig.11).

For people of all ages, the banding activity is a wonderful opportunity to view eagles up close as John Castrale of the IDNR explains the procedure.

An Opportunity to Learn
Figure 5 - An Opportunity to Learn


Safely Holding the Bird
Figure 6 - Safely Holding the Bird


The eaglets must be handled with care to prevent injury to the bird and to the people handling the birds. The powerful feet and sharp talons are the business end of eagles and other raptorial birds and can inflict serious injuries. (See also Figs. 8 & 9).

Specially sized, individually numbered metal bands are used to band the eaglets. The band makes it possible to identify the individual bird so that it can be later identified.

The Bands
Figure 7 - The Bands


Applying the Band
Figure 8 - Applying the Band


The band is carefully fitted to the leg of the eagle to make sure it fits properly.

The ends of the band are then lined up and prepared to receive the rivets that will hold the ends together.

Aligning the Band
Figure 9 - Aligning the Band


Rivets Hold it On
Figure 10 - Rivets Hold it On


The rivets are then applied to the band.

After the bands are applied and data for each bird recorded, the young eagles are returned to the nest.

Back to the Nest
Figure 11 - Back to the Nest


Eagle Nest Locations
Figure 12 - Eagle Nest Locations

Indiana's Bald Eagle Restoration program has met with much success. Since 1988, a total of 67 eagles have been fledged in Indiana. In the 1997 breeding season, Indiana had 18 occupied territories, 15 active nests, and a total of 13 eagles fledged from 9 nests.


If you would like to learn more about Indiana's eagle recovery program or other wildlife programs of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, you may access the IDNR web site through the links section of this web site.

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All images are courtesy of CWBO. All image copyrights are owned by CWBO. Any use of these images must have permission of CWBO.

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