Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
After having been away since May, a pair of bald eagles just reappeared at their winter territory on our lake. They made sure everyone knew they were back, swooping and soaring over the lake, while they vocalized constantly with shrill chittering calls.
Amazingly, no one yet knows where Florida adult bald eagles go during the summer months, but biologists have followed juvenile birds using satellite tags. Young bald eagles do not breed until they are about five years old, and in the meantime they spend their summers traveling.
Each spring, 2,000 to 3,000 juvenile eagles leave Florida and head north, flying as far as Prince Edward Island in Canada. One young tagged female spent two consecutive summers in Illinois, and returned to Florida for the winter.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are 1,166 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in Florida – this state has the largest bald eagle population in the lower 48 states. In June 2007 the FWC removed the bald eagle from the federal endangered species list, leaving it listed as a threatened species. The FWC is currently moving to delist the species completely because eagle numbers are stable and increasing.
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