Historically, the Bald Eagle was a common breeding species along major river systems, lakes and coastal areas throughout much of North America. The widespread use of persistent pesticides for crop management in the region resulted in dramatic declines over a 30-40 year period. By the late 1960’s, most breeding populations were decimated by eggshell thinning and associated low productivity. Concern for these populations prompted the elevation of the Bald Eagle to endangered status and led to a national effort to restore historic populations. Since the nationwide ban on many persistent pesticides in 1972, eagle populations have experienced gradual recoveries in productivity and total numbers. The state of North Carolina has seen an increase from no breeding pairs in the late 1960s to approximately 60 pairs as of 2005. Work conducted by The Center for Conservation Biology in 1995 and 1996 at Alcoa Power Generating Inc.’s (APGI) Yadkin Project (FERC #2197) identified areas of consistent use by eagles in inland areas of North Carolina and suggested that nesting activity should be anticipated in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River basin. A survey of this system in 2001 provided confirmation of these suggestions. Since that survey, annual efforts to monitor this population have continued. Results of the 2013 survey follow (a summary of all eagle and Great Blue Heron/Great Egret nesting activity since 2001 is provided at the end of this report).
Abundance/Distribution; Breeding/Demography/Population Dynamics
Bald Eagle; Great Blue Heron; Great Egret
The Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series, CCBTR-13-06. College of William and Mary & Virginia Commonwealth University, Williamsburg, VA.
Watts, B. D., F.M. Smith, and B.J. Paxton. 2013. An assessment of the Bald Eagle and Great Blue Heron breeding populations along High Rock, Tuckertown, Narrows, and Falls Reservoirs in central North Carolina: 2013 breeding season. Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series, CCBTR-13-06. College of William and Mary/Virginia Commonwealth University, Williamsburg, VA. 46 pp.