The Center for Conservation Biology says that according to 2016 survey results for the Virginia bald eagle population, there are 1,007 occupied breeding territories. Yes, more than 1,000 pairs!
What’s really wonderful is that this total number represents a comeback for this magnificent bird from a low of 20 pairs in 1970. The Center says a federal ban on DDT and like compounds in 1972 led to a recovery beginning in the late 1970s.
The Center, at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, compiled more than 160 hours of aerial surveys, ground efforts in residential areas of lower Tidewater and observations from inland volunteers that documented the numbers. The densest areas of the breeding population are in the counties around the Chesapeake Bay, including 75 pairs in Westmoreland County, 73 pairs in King George County and 71 pairs in Essex County..
The 2016 survey is the 60th year of the annual eagle survey initiated by Jackson Abbott and volunteers of the Virginia Society of Ornithology.