Arizona Bald Eagle Management Program
Rugged terrain and steep canyons limited bald eagle nest surveys in the early years. Since 1985, a more complete assessment of the breeding population (i.e. the examination of new areas, historical and known breeding areas, and nest sites of other species) has been possible through the use of helicopters. The discovery of new breeding areas and alternate nests, coupled with the knowledge of current and historical breeding areas, allows for an accurate description of the distribution, status, and annual productivity of the bald eagle in Arizona. Timely discovery of new breeding areas allows biologists to address management needs to ensure adequate protection.
From 1987 to 1991, biologists believed that breeding bald eagles in Arizona might be reaching carrying capacity, as the number of breeding areas did not increase dramatically. However, beginning in 1992, bald eagles began using new habitats and reoccupying historical breeding areas due to intensive management efforts to maximize reproduction (i.e Arizona Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program, assisting eagles in life-threatening situations, etc.). From 1992 to 2006, 20 new breeding areas have been discovered and eight historical breeding areas have been reoccupied. Clearly, the bald eagle in Arizona has not reached its carrying capacity. The potential exists for bald eagles to occupy the 12 remaining historical breeding areas and other suitable unoccupied habitat (i.e. Black, Colorado, Gila, White rivers, etc).
More information on bald eagle nest locations can be found on the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee's webpage.