Bald eagle populations in Arizona continue to recover

The bald eagle was listed as an endangered species nationwide until 2007, and protection under the Endangered Species Act was reinstated in 2008 in Arizona and remained until 2011. The decline of the bald eagle was mainly attributed to reproductive failure due to ingestion of toxins associated with pesticides, particularly dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), as well as predator control and poaching by humans. Current threats include habitat loss, human disturbance of nesting sites, declining native fish populations, and illegal shooting. Today, there are an estimated 69 breeding pairs in Arizona, and a record of 87 young bald eagles hatched during the 2018 breeding season, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s annual survey. These numbers suggest that ongoing efforts to conserve the species are successful. However, the risk of loss persists as human populations, recreational pressures, and development increase in or near breeding habitat. Nationally, bald eagles remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.