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 Bald Eagle

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common


Early Spring Date


Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Bald Eagle.

Use the links below to view the Bald Eagle reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.



Active Database - Summer 2005
View Bald Eagle sightings.
Bald Eagle Archives Reports
Spring 2005
Fall 2004
Spring 2004
Winter 03-04
Fall 2003 147
Spring 2003 260
Winter 02-03 296
Fall 2002 98
Summer 2002 36
Spring 2002 267
Winter 01-02 261
Fall 2001 101
Summer 2001 20
Spring 2001 195
Winter 00-01 157
Fall 2000 186
Summer 2000 21
Spring 2000 242
Winter 00-99 131
Fall 1999 155
Spring/Summer 1999 26

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Bald Eagle







Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited


Historical Text

Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtonii (Audubon)
Northern Bald Eagle (A.O.U. 1998: Bald Eagle)
U.M.M.Z. Animal Diversity Reference

Uncommon summer resident north of Saginaw Bay and Muskegon County (also known to breed in Monroe County). Rare winter resident in the north. Rather regular visitant during the late fall, winter, and early spring along the shore of Lake Erie.

First authoritatively recorded for Michigan by Sager (1839: 412).

SPRING.-The species generally leaves the southern counties in March and appears in the Upper Peninsula in late March or early April.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 57) has reported the north- ward migration of these eagles in the Toledo-Erie marsh area between March 17 and April 16. W. Anderson reported 10 in the Erie marsh, Mon- roe County, on March 24,1940. Occasionally, the birds are seen in the Ann Arbor area as late as May; an immature was seen there by John L. George on May 8, 1938, and an adult by Trautman on May 16,1937.

Upper Peninsula.-Bryens at McMillan, Luce County, and Christofferson at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, have supplied the only records for the spring movements of the Bald Eagle in the Upper Peninsula. They have recorded arrival during the last few days of March or in early April, though Bryens has occasionally not recorded it until late April.

SUMMER*-Young have been found from May to July. From the data now on hand it can be conservatively estimated that there are at least 50 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in Michigan.

Lower Peninsula.-Monroe County: Herbert Miller observed a nest during April, 1941, in La Salle Township that had been in use at least 5 years; Maurice G. Brooks saw 2 young in a nest in Berlin Township on May 14, 1939. Huron County: 2 adult birds were seen on a nest on Heisterman Island (in Saginaw Bay) on February 9,1942. Muskegon County: a nest has been noted for several years in Laketon Township; young were reared in 1938 (Baker, 1939o; 72-73), and the nest was reported still in use in 1941 by H. Burns. Newaygo County: a young bird in a nest in Croton Township on May 18, 1927, was banded by Ben East, but the nest has not been re- ported in recent years. Ogemaw County: 0. DeWaard examined a nest on June 4,1941, near Sage's Lake that had been in use at least 10 years. Iosco County: DeWaard reported a nest near Au Sable Point that contained 2 young in 1940 and 1 young in 1941, and a nest with young near Tawas Lake in late May, 1941. Benzie County: David E. Davis reported young in a nest near Crystal Lake in 1934, and again in 1940. Roscommon County: A. Henry examined a nest north of Lake St. Helen on May 16, 1941; and H. Tubbs examined 1, with 2 nearly full-grown young, west of Lake St. Helen on June 26, 1941. Crawford County: 14 miles east of Grayling, 2 young about 2 weeks old were found in a nest in late May (E. M. Brig- ham, Jr., 1939: 59-63); a second nest was reported by Walkinshaw (1939e;71) near Lake Margrethe in June, 1938. Montmorency County: 2 nests were examined by W. J. Cronk in 1941, one in the northeastern part near Long Lake and the other near Turtle Lake; L. Sacks examined a nest the same year at West Twin Lake. Alcona County: Verne Dockham re-ported 2 nests in 1939, in the northwestern corner of the county within a quarter of a mile of each other; 0. DeWaard found a nest in 1941 southeast of Curtisville. Leelanau County: in June, 1940, A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case reported a nest on South Manitou Island and 3 nests on North Manitou Island (2 with 2 young), and in 1939 a nest on South Fox Island. Antrim County: Walter E. Hastings noted 4 occupied nests between Elk Rapids and Torch Lake (village) on April 2, 1940. Charlevoix County: Hastings reported 1 nest south of Charlevoix and 2 nests between Charlevoix and Petoskey on April 2, 1940; on Beaver Island, J. E. McCann noted 2 nests in August, 1941; in 1938 Van Tyne found a nest on Gull Island (Beaver Island group). Emmet County: T. Koboski examined a nest on Sturgeon Bay in September, 1941. Cheboygan County: J. Adair reported a nest near Tower on August 21, 1941, and another on the west side of Black Lake on July 15, 1941; 0. M. Root reported a nest with 2 young northwest of Black Lake on July 9, 1941; Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) recorded a nest on Duncan Bay on August 16, 1937; A. E. Staebler reported a pair nesting at the mouth of the Maple River on Burt Lake from 1938 to 1940.

Upper Peninsula.-Mackinac County: A. McLean saw a nest a few miles southeast of Gould City on August 30, 1941, and another nest at Patterson Point (in the southwestern part of the county) on May 25, 1941. School- craft County: Christofferson reported a nest near Port Inland in 1939 and 1940. Alger County: in July, 1941, L. J. Merwin examined a nest near Fish Lake. Marquette County: a nest in which 1 or 2 young had been raised each year from 1935 to 1941 was reported near Howe Lake (northwestern part of the county) by R. H. Manville in 1941. No recent information is available from Isle Royale; formerly, 6 nests were known there (Peet, 1909:350; and N. A. Wood, notes of 1930).

The Bald Eagle nested in the Detroit area as late as 1904. J. Claire Wood (1904: 88) examined a nest with 3 eggs on Grosse He on March 13, 1904. Swales (1903: 16; and notes) recorded a nest on Elba Island at the mouth of the Detroit River in 1903 and another nest the same year at the mouth of the Clinton River in Macomb County. N. A. Wood (1922: 14) listed the Bald Eagle as a rare straggler in Berrien County, where he re- corded one on June 8. An adult was seen by L. D. Case on June 28, 1942, at Portage Lake, Jackson County.

FALL.-The species leaves the Upper Peninsula by the middle of November and appears in the southern counties after the first of September.

Upper Peninsula.-Bryens at McMillan, Luce County, and Christofferson at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, generally record the Bald Eagle until the middle of November; Bryens saw 1 as late as December 4 in 1935.

Lower Peninsula.-N. A. Wood (1922: 14) saw the species in Berrien County on September 3 and 10. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area L. W. Campbell (1940: 57) has noted that "a pronounced migration takes place" between August 31 and October 31.

WINTER.-The Bald Eagle is found wintering rarely in both the Upper and the Lower Peninsula. It is a regular winter visitant in Monroe County along the shore of Lake Erie.

Upper Peninsula.-0. DeWaard saw a single Bald Eagle southwest of Metropolitan, Dickinson County, on January 29, 1942. Bryens saw 1 at McMillan, Luce County, on February 19, 1930; Magee and Christofferson saw 2 between Eckerman and Emerson, Chippewa County, on January 12, 1925. In Schoolcraft County, E. E. Crawford reported 1 at Seney on February 14, 1937, and Christofferson saw 1 at Blaney on December 26, 1939.

Lower Peninsula.-One Bald Eagle was seen by J. W. Leonard early in February, 1941, near Lewiston, Montmorency County. In the Battle Creek area E. M. Brigham, Jr., and others (1937: 58) saw 1 on December 27, 1936, and H. W. Hann noted 1 near Ann Arbor on January 31, 1931. L. W. Campbell (1940: 57) listed this species as an uncommon permanent resident in the Toledo-Erie marsh area; he reported 8 there on February 28,1937. * During 1940 and 1941, the Michigan Department of Conservation attempted to locate all of the nests in use by Bald Eagles. "With this information it is now possible to outline rather fully the nesting distribution in Michigan.


Source:
MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATIONS
Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]





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