This national symbol is also an iconic Maryland species. Each year, thousands of bald eagles flock to the open waters and tidal marshes of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from all over the eastern United States and Canada, perching at the very top of the tallest trees and feeding on the regionís abundant fish and water fowl. Anyone who spends time near Bay waters during the winter months has a good chance of spotting one of these imposing birds of prey.
Eagles stand nearly three feet tall with a wingspan over six feet. Adults are dark brown with the prominent white head feathers that give the species its name. Immature birds are brown although some are mottled on their undersides with white feathers.
The birds mate for life and there are over 400 nesting pairs in Maryland. Every county in the state has at least one nesting pair, but most are found within a mile of tidal waters, along the Potomac River and near major reservoirs.
The bald eagle listed as endangered species until 1995, when its status was upgraded to threatened. Although it is still a protected species, its comeback in the Chesapeake region and throughout the United States is considered a major conservation victory and an example of the successful partnership between federal, state and local governments.