Bald Eagle Population by State in 2024

Written by Dana Mayor
Updated: September 26, 2023
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Key Points:
  • The bald eagle is one of America’s most loved birds and serves as the country’s national symbol.
  • Its population once plummeted to 1,000 in the 1950s, but bald eagles now number 300,000, making it one of the nation’s greatest conservation success stories.
  • Alaska has more bald eagles than any other state, with 30,000 breeding pairs present.

The bald eagle is a symbol of American pride. Here we will take a look at the bald eagle population by state.

Meet the Bald Eagle

The American bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a predatory raptor native to the United States. This striking, large, black, and white bird is the national symbol of the United States.

bald eagle perched on column

The bald eagle, symbol of the United States, is regal in appearance.

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©iStock.com/emranashraf

Where Do American Bald Eagles Live?

They live all over the United States and are abundant in most states.

What Do Bald Eagles Eat?

They are raptors who live near wetlands, so their primary diet is fish. They also hunt and eat:

What Is the Bald Eagle Population in the U.S.?

There are an estimated 316,700 bald eagles in the lower 48 states, according to the Migratory Bird Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This is excellent news for a bird that was once endangered. In 2021, USFWS Deputy Director Martha Williams said, “The recovery of the bald eagle is one of the most well-known conservation success stories of all time.”

In the 1950s, there were fewer than 1,000 birds left in the country. Conservation efforts, bans on certain pesticides, and laws against hunting all contributed to helping their populations increase.

In spite of an elevation in status to the emblem of the United States in 1782, the population of bald eagles would plummet with the passing of the years.

This was due to the fact that they were considered a menace by both fishermen (who believed they frightened away salmon), and livestock breeders, alike.

As recently as the previous century these regal raptors found themselves in the crosshairs of the government of Alaska with a 50-cent bounty on their heads. By the 1950s, the extensive use of DDT almost led to their extinction. Fortunately, the insecticide was banned in 1972 and efficient conservation programs entered the fray. And by 2007, the bald eagle no longer required its protected status.

Please note that some wildlife organizations count birds as breeding pairs. This is a good way to tell how well a bird population is doing. For our population numbers, we relied on official numbers from each state’s Fish and Wildlife Department, Department of Natural Resources, or another source.

baby eagle and mother

In the 1950s, there were fewer than 1,000 bald eagles in the U.S. Today, there are about 316,700 in the lower U.S.

©iStock.com/BrianEKushner

Which State Has the Highest Bald Eagle Population?

Alaska has more bald eagles than any other state, with 30,000 breeding pairs present.

They are typically found along Alaska’s coast, offshore islands, and inland lakes and rivers. The majority spend winter in southern regions of the state, with some departing during cold months. In late fall and early winter, more than 3,000 bald eagles gather in the Chilkat Valley to feed on salmon. Many nest on the islands of Southeast Alaska in old-growth trees.

Which State Does Not Have Bald Eagles?

The only state in the U.S. that does not have any bald eagles resident is Hawaii.

While it’s possible that bald eagles might be observed on the rare occasion during winter months if they deviate from their usual range (or birds exist there due to humans releasing them into the wild), there are no breeding pairs recognized in the state.

There are a few reasons why bald eagles are not present in Hawaii. The main reason is that there aren’t suitable habitats, as these birds require environments with large bodies of water, tall trees for perching and nesting, and open areas for hunting. Although Hawaii does have lakes, rivers and coastal regions, its vegetation is dense and there are few open spaces appropriate for hunting grounds.

Another reason for the absence of bald eagles in the state is that Hawaii’s waters do not supply large fish in abundance, making survival a challenge for these raptors that feed mostly on fish. Also, native birds including the Hawaiian hawk and Hawaiian crow are dominant species that would provide plenty of competition for bald eagles over available food sources. In addition, Hawaii’s tropical climate is unsuitable for bald eagles to breed, as they prefer breeding grounds located within cooler climates.

bald eagle nest

There are no bald eagles in Hawaii as the state does not have trees tall enough for their nests.

©iStock.com/June Jacobsen

Bald Eagle Population by State

Alabama: 200 Pairs

Alabama has about 200 breeding pairs of bald eagles.

Alaska: 30,000 Pairs

Alaska has more bald eagles than any other state. They thrive along the state’s cold coastal waters. They also live in Alaska’s many interior lakes and rivers. The state is home to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

Arizona: 65 Pairs

The state has taken many steps to protect bald eagles, and it has seen a steady increase in numbers as a result. According to the state’s Game and Fish Department, Arizona has around 65 breeding pairs, and a record 87 young bald eagles.

Arkansas: 80 Pairs

The best time to view these majestic birds in their Natural State is in winter when 1,700 of these birds descend on bodies of water in search of nourishment to get through the cold months. Wildlife experts and bird enthusiasts agree that the period between November to January is the best for catching a glimpse of these majestic raptors in their natural habitat.

California: 400 Pairs

The state has around 1,000 bald eagles who migrate to the state to spend the winter months. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says the best times to view them are during the winter months from December to March. The state does not get many bald eagles who winter there.

Colorado: 200 Pairs

Colorado has about 200 resident breeding pairs of bald eagles. It also has around 1,000 pairs of bald eagles that spend the winter there.

bald eagles perched over water

Alaska has more bald eagles than any other state with an estimated 30,000 pairs.

©FloridaStock/Shutterstock.com

Connecticut: 82 Pairs

Like many states, Connecticut lost its entire bald eagle population by the 1950s. Today, it is home to 82 healthy breeding pairs based on active nests. The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reports that Connecticut saw record-breaking numbers of active territories and successful nests. A total of 176 bald eagles have been recorded in total as of late 2022.

Delaware: 77 Pairs

Delaware has worked hard to improve its habitats for bald eagles. Many of the state’s breeding pairs can be seen close to the Delaware River.

Florida: 1,500 Pairs

After Alaska, this is one of the best places in the U.S. to see these beautiful raptors. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they live along most coastal areas, rivers, and lakes of the state. Florida is also a favorite stop for visiting eagles.

Georgia: 198 Pairs

Georgia has struggled to keep healthy bald eagle populations. The bird has been protected by the state’s endangered species laws. In recent years, the state has set aside conservation areas and introduced baby bald eagles into the bird’s former ranges. This had led to the current count of around 200 nesting pairs.

Hawaii: 0

There are no bald eagles in Hawaii.

Idaho: 234

Idaho’s bald eagle breeding pairs went from around 10 to more than 200 thanks to conservation efforts. The exact numbers are not known, but state wildlife officials say the breeding populations are healthy and growing. The state’s many wildlife refuges are excellent places to see these birds.

Illinois: 40 Pairs

Illinois has around 40 breeding pairs of bald eagles, but the state’s bald eagle population increases to more than 3,000 in the winter. Birds begin migrating to the state in December and continue doing so until April. This is the largest wintering population in the U.S. outside of Alaska. The state hosts yearly eagle-watching events called Bald Eagle Days during the winter months.

Indiana: 350 Pairs

Bald eagles were driven out of the state, but it now boasts a healthy population of 300 breeding pairs thanks to conservation and reintroduction efforts. An added 300 estimated birds visit the state in the winter.

Iowa: 400 Pairs

Like other states, Iowa sees a huge increase in its bald eagle population in the winter months. The annual migration of about 3,000 birds makes it one of the best places to see visiting birds. They nest along the Cedar and Iowa Rivers.

Kansas: 137 Pairs

Kansas began reintroducing bald eagles about 30 years ago, and the state’s efforts have paid off. According to state wildlife officials, there are 137 nesting pairs in the state. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism launched a three-year program in 2020 to study the impact of wind energy development on bald eagle populations.

Kentucky: 187 Pairs

Kentucky’s bald eagles primarily live in the western part of the state, but in recent years they have been spotted in the central and eastern areas.

Louisiana: 350 Pairs

Louisiana has a healthy, thriving bald eagle population. In 2015, the Audubon Society named the state a chief population center for bald eagles. It has 350 resident breeding pairs and hosts hundreds more in the winter season. Only Florida hosts more birds annually. According to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Service, the birds primarily live in Terrebonne Parish.

Maine: 800 Pairs

Maine has seen steady increases in its bald eagle population. In 2008, the state delisted the bald eagle from the state’s Endangered and Threatened Species List. In doing so, it cited the birds’ steady reproduction and the existence of protected areas.

Maryland: 1,400 Pairs

State officials stopped counting bald eagle populations when evidence showed that its breeding populations were thriving. Another estimated 2,000 bald eagles live around the Chesapeake Bay in areas that include both Maryland and Virginia.

Massachusetts: 76 Pairs

The state lists the bald eagle as a species of special concern, but state wildlife officials report that the current population is well on the way to recovery.

Michigan: 900 Pairs

After being driven to near extinction in Michigan, the bald eagle has made an impressive recovery in this state. Eagles nest along Lake Michigan, rivers, and inland lakes.

Bald Eagle flying over a lake.

In Michigan, bald eagles nest along Lake Michigan, rivers, and inland lakes.

©Jack Molan/Shutterstock.com

Minnesota: 9,800 Pairs

Minnesota has a large, healthy bald eagle population. According to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, this includes 30 nesting pairs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Mississippi: 100

Mississippi has around 100 bald eagles that live along the Mississippi River.

Missouri: 500 Pairs

Missouri’s bald eagles live along lakes in the Ozark Mountains and the Missouri River. It also welcomes many bald eagles that spend the winter there. The Missouri Department of Conservation hosts Bald Eagle Days to give visitors a close look at migrating bald eagles.

Montana: 700 Pairs

Montana’s bald eagle population is growing, and the state says it can support even more breeding populations.

Nebraska: 202

Nebraska reintroduced bald eagles about 20 years ago, and their population has rebounded. The state also hosts several hundred visiting bald eagles every winter.

Nevada: Visitors Only

Nevada does not have resident bald eagles, but about 150 bald eagles visit the state every winter. Visitors flock to the Carson Valley to see them.

New Hampshire: 109 Pairs

New Hampshire has about 500 eagles and 109 nesting pairs of bald eagles. Most of the state’s bald eagles migrate to other states during New Hampshire’s icy winters.

New Jersey: 220 Pairs

New Jersey’s bald eagles mostly live along coastlines and the Cape May shoreline.

New Mexico: 2 Pairs

New Mexico’s bald eagle population has steadily increased in the past decades, and state wildlife officials say the birds have set up breeding sites in some parts of the state. However, the state does not count population numbers because these breeding sites are very recent. New Mexico hosts hundreds of bald eagles who spend the winter in the state every year. Recently, they have 2 reported pairs.

New York: 425 Pairs

The areas around the Saint Lawrence and Hudson Rivers attract many eagles in the winter.

North Carolina: 192 Pairs

North Carolina introduced 29 bald eagles into the state in 1983. Since then, the population has steadily grown. In a 2020 count, there were around 400 bald eagles in the state.

North Dakota: 300 Pairs

In 2021, North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department reported that the state had tripled its earlier count of 100 nesting pairs.

Ohio: 910 Pairs

Ohio has a growing bald eagle population. Most of the eagles live near Lake Erie.

Oklahoma: 500 Pairs

Oklahoma is home to 600 nesting pairs of eagles, and hundreds of bald eagles visit the state every winter.

Oregon: 570 Pairs

Like many states, Oregon stopped counting birds when it reached its recovery goals, and the number could be higher.

Pennsylvania: 300 Pairs

The state is also home to migratory bald eagles that visit the Susquehanna River during the winter.

Rhode Island: 3 Pairs

Rhode Island has fewer than 10 active, breeding pairs. The state has seen an increase in nesting sites and migratory visitors, however, the number seems to be rising.

South Carolina: 440 Pairs

South Carolina has met its recovery goals with 440 active breeding pairs.

South Dakota: 150 Pairs

In 2015, the state delisted the bald eagle from the Endangered Species List. South Dakota’s eagles do not migrate.

Tennessee: 175 Pairs

Tennessee has a stable population of breeding pairs and hosts hundreds of migratory bald eagles in the winter.

Texas: 160 Pairs

Texas’s bald eagles live along its rivers and lakes. Texas is also a favorite wintering site for many bald eagles, especially in the Panhandle and coastal regions.

baby bald eagle with mother

Texas is a favorite wintering spot for several bald eagles.

©Jon C. Beverly/Shutterstock.com

Utah: 10 Pairs

It is not known whether Utah has active, healthy breeding pairs of bald eagles. The state welcomes hundreds of wintering bald eagles every year. The state has designated February as Bald Eagle Month.

Vermont: 68 Pairs

Vermont was one of the last states to reintroduce bald eagles. It did so in 2003, and it has seen a steady increase in its bald eagle population since then. In 2020, the state met its recovery goal with 68 breeding pairs. The state and numerous conservation groups have said that Vermont can safely delist the bald eagle from its Endangered Species List.

Virginia: 1,100 Pairs

Virginia is another state where bald eagles have made an outstanding comeback.

Washington: 900 Pairs

The state also attracts many bald eagles from colder northern regions. An estimated 80% of the birds here have come from other states or Canada.

West Virginia: 300 Pairs

The Mountain State is home to around 300 breeding pairs.

Wisconsin: 1,500 Pairs

Wisconsin’s wildlife officials say there are bald eagle nesting sites in all but one of the state’s 72 counties.

Wyoming: 185 Pairs

Wyoming does not usually officially count bald eagles, but state wildlife officials say the bird has healthy nesting sites on all the state’s major river systems. The population seems to be on the increase, and recent data reports 185 nesting pairs.

Summary of Bald Eagle Population by State in 2024

Here’s a table to see at a glance which states bald eagles can be found in 2024.

NumberStateNumber of Bald Eagles
1Alabama200 Pairs
2Alaska30,000 Pairs
3Arizona69 Pairs
4Arkansas80 Pairs
5California400 Pairs
6Colorado200 Pairs
7Connecticut82 Pairs
8Delaware77 Pairs
9Florida1,500 Pairs
10Georgia198 Pairs
11Hawaii0
12Idaho234
13Illinois40 Pairs
14Indiana350 Pairs
15Iowa400 Pairs
16Kansas137 Pairs
17Kentucky187 Pairs
18Louisiana350 Pairs
19Maine800 Pairs
20Maryland1,400 Pairs
21Massachusetts76 Pairs
22Michigan800 Pairs
23Minnesota9,800 Pairs
24Mississippi100
25Missouri500 Pairs
26Montana700 Pairs
27Nebraska202
28NevadaVisitors Only
29New Hampshire109
30New Jersey220 Pairs
31New MexicoUnknown
32New York425 Pairs
33North Carolina192 Pairs
34North Dakota300 Pairs
35Ohio910 Pairs
36Oklahoma500 Pairs
37Oregon570 Pairs
38Pennsylvania300 Pairs
39Rhode IslandUnknown
40South Carolina440 Pairs
41South Dakota150 Pairs
42Tennessee175 Pairs
43Texas160 Pairs
44Utah10 Pairs
45Vermont68 Pairs
46Virginia1,100 Pairs
47Washington900 Pairs
48West Virginia300 Pairs
49Wisconsin1,500 Pairs
50Wyoming185 Pairs

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Genfirstlight


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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

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