Bald Eagles in Iowa: A Comeback Story

Dec 9, 2014

The population of bald eagles in Iowa appears to be plateauing. That’s according to wildlife biologist Jim Pease.

Pease says bald eagles are one of the great comeback stories in the state, and recently, we’re seeing a saturation of eagle habitat.

If you're looking to see a bald eagle, look for open water. As the temperatures get lower and the ice closes over, they are restricted to places where there is open water to fish. - Jim Pease

  “We were seeing growing populations, but I think we’re close to a plateau. The expansion has slowed down because I think we’re pretty well saturated. There is a territory limit because a pair needs about a square mile. When you get more than that, they won’t tolerate one another.”

Pease says the number of eagles in Iowa is dependent upon fish populations and the availability of big, mature trees the birds can use to nest. If you’re looking for bald eagles this winter, Pease says it’s best to look for open water.

“As the temperatures get lower and the ice closes over, they are restricted to places where there is open water to fish.”

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