In the early 20th century, Bald Eagles were common across Georgia, especially along the coast. By the 1950s and 60s, however, they had become rare transients. In 1970 there was just one known nesting pair in all of Georgia. They were on remote St Catherine’s Island. They were not seen after 1970.
Beginning in 1973 using regulatory authority to protect endangered species provided by Federal & State Endangered Species Acts, in particular the Federal banning of DDT, GA DNR, in partnership with conservation NGOs, set out to restore Georgia’s Bald Eagle population.
In 1978 an occupied nest was discovered on the coast. In 1981 two nests were discovered.
The program of protections and introductions of young birds from captive breeding and states with higher numbers of wild birds (1979 to 1995) continues to bring back the statewide Bald Eagle population. Using the latest annual survey data, DNR estimates 200+ nest sites across the state and an impressive 70-80% success rate fledgling 1 or 2 eaglets.
It’s starting to get crowded as offspring look for territories.
The first shots are adults that nest along the Tallulah River in NE Georgia putting on an intimidating display of legs & talons aerobatics. When this didn’t work one of the adults struck the youngster & extracted some tail feathers. The chase was on. In the meantime, just down river, the adults’ offspring stayed tight in a perch while his\her parents protected the Seed Lake homestead. Not to worry. There is plenty of great habitat for the youngster just down river as well as the Chattooga Wild & Scenic River just to the east. The Tallulah & Chattooga join together to form the Tugaloo River just a few miles south of where these pictures were taken.
What has also been important, and impressive, is the geographic dispersion of the nesting sites across the topographical regions.
While the large scale ticket items of the program, like large land acquisition, gets a lot of press, deservedly so, making it safe to do the everyday things, like getting a cool drink of clean water, is core to the success of the comeback. Something we humans need to take heed of.