Arizona Bald Eagle Management Program
To determine population trends nationwide, the National Wildlife Federation initiated an annual bald eagle winter count in 1979. Each year the states are responsible for the completion of standardized survey routes, which are now compiled by a national coordinator at the U.S. Geological Survey. After participating from 1981 to 1985, the Arizona Game and Fish Department resumed the winter count surveys in 1992, established 115 routes statewide in 1995, and amended the routes to 105 in 2006. Federal and state agencies, Native American tribes, and private groups assist annually in conducting the survey during a one-week period in January.
The winter count yields information on bald eagle age classes, numbers, and habitats. During the winter, Arizona averages 322 bald eagles, composed of 64 percent adults and 33 percent immature birds from 1995 to 2005. Bald eagles rarely concentrate in large numbers in Arizona as is common on other wintering grounds around the nation, but occasionally there can be 30 or more in one area. Bald eagles move to new areas frequently in the winter and occupy a variety of habitats. They are most common at the lakes and rivers along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.