Bald eagles are large birds known for being the official animal of the United States. Their piercing gaze and hunting prowess are a wonder to behold. These birds were once considered an endangered species. Today, though, they are becoming more plentiful in the U.S. So, between Florida vs. Ohio, which has more bald eagles? Take a look at the bald eagle population found in each state and see which state has more of these birds soaring through its skies.
The Bald Eagle Population in the United States
The total bald eagle population in the United States is about 316,700 including 71,400 nesting pairs. The population quadrupled between 2009 and 2021. In the past, the species was brought to the brink of extinction.
Bald eagles were relentlessly hunted, driven from their habitats, and died as a result of food contamination via DDT. Roughly 417 nesting pairs lived in the U.S. in 1963, three years before the first Endangered Species Preservation Act.
With the passage of that law and subsequent legislation, bald eagles gained the protections needed for their population to flourish once again. The birds are no longer considered an endangered species under federal guidelines, but they still receive various protections.
How Many Bald Eagles Live in Ohio?
Ohio seems like the perfect place for bald eagles to nest. The state has plenty of area along the coast of Lake Erie along with numerous lakes and rivers. After all, bald eagles love to eat fish, so having a nest close to a body of water is perfect for them.
Roughly 707 pairs of bald eagles live throughout the state of Ohio as of 2020. The 2022 estimates say that about 806 bald eagle nests are located in Ohio. The majority of them are found in the Lake Erie region, especially the marshy western portion of the Great Lake. However, the birds are found in all but three counties throughout the state, mostly concentrated in the central-west and northeastern part of the state.
Bald eagles are considered common in Ohio these days, especially given the increase in population. According to the Ohio government that surveys the bird’s population, the number of bald eagles in the state continues to rise.
The government estimates that 2020 saw a 150% increase in the bald eagle population in the state from 2012. That was the last time that the state performed a true nest census rather than an estimate. In 2012, only about 200 nests were located throughout the state.
In 2020, about 1,000 eaglets hatched throughout the year. However, not all eaglets survive to adulthood, so it’s not as though the population in the state is going to double within a year. It’s still a good sign that the eagles are reproducing, though.
Ohio’s Bald Eagle Protections
The bald eagle was once considered an endangered species throughout the United States. However, that is no longer the case. That doesn’t mean the bird does not have any federal and state protections safeguarding it, though.
In fact, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act makes it illegal to interact with bald eagles. It is illegal for people to bother, chase, hunt, collect, or interfere with the normal activities of a bald eagle throughout the state.
How Many Bald Eagles Are Found in Florida?
Florida has 1,500 bald eagle pairs within its borders, making it the state with the fourth-greatest population of these birds. The only states with higher populations of bald eagles than Florida are Alaska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Florida is a great place for bald eagles because it has so many waterways where the birds can hunt their favorite prey.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tracks the locations of known bald eagle nests. The species lives on the Gulf Coast starting in the Florida panhandle, far south along the western coast to near Naples, along the eastern coast from Jacksonville to Miami, and inland around Florida’s many large lakes.
Officials have located bald eagles throughout large swaths of the state, making them a rather common bird in the region.
The Steps Florida Takes to Protect Bald Eagles
Florida didn’t gain the fourth-largest population of bald eagles by accident. Like other places in the United States, the state falls under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act along with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Florida also has state protections in place for bald eagles. These protections are outlined under the Species Action Plan for the bald eagle. The protections determine how to maintain or increase the population of bald eagles throughout the state using several methods. They include habitat conservation, law enforcement, population management, education and outreach, monitoring and research, and more.
Together, the significant legal protections and management plan make Florida a place where bald eagles can continue to thrive.
Florida vs. Ohio: Which Has More Bald Eagles?
The state of Florida has more bald eagles than Ohio. Florida has about 1,500 mating pairs while Ohio has about 707 confirmed pairs and over 800 estimated pairs of bald eagles living within its borders. Both states have the right combination of great nesting areas and food sources that attract these birds.
If an area has food and water available throughout the year, the birds may not migrate. However, they can migrate to warmer areas and coastal areas in search of food in the winter.
The bald eagle population is recovering throughout much of the United States. However, some states have far more bald eagles in their borders than others. Florida has the highest population of any southern state, but Alaska still holds the record for the greatest number of bald eagles in the United States. Even though these birds are becoming increasingly common, people are still not allowed to disturb the birds in most cases.
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