Eagle Scoping

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Permits for Taking Eagle Nests

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Under current regulations, the Service can issue Permits for the taking of eagle nests only under limited circumstances, such as to protect human or eagle health and safety.

The Service is looking for your input about whether to modify those restrictions and/ or amend the regulatory definitions of "eagle nest,'' and "inactive eagle nest."

Definitions of "Eagle Nest" and "Inactive Eagle Nest"

"Eagle nest" means any readily identifiable structure built, maintained, or used by bald eagles or golden eagles for the purpose of reproduction.

"Inactive eagle nest" means a bald eagle or golden eagle nest that is not currently being used by eagles as determined by the continuing absence of any adult, egg, or dependent young at the nest for at least 10 consecutive days immediately prior to, and including, at present. An inactive nest may become active again and remains protected under the Eagle Act.

Active Nest Take Permits

Under current regulations, the Service can issue a permit to remove active eagle nests only to resolve a safety emergency. This applies to all active nests, including those where adults are attending the nest, but no eggs have been laid.

Inactive Nest Take Permits

Under current regulations, the Service can issue permits to remove inactive eagle nests only under specific, limited circumstances.

Inactive nests can be taken if the removal is necessary to:

  1. Prevent a safety emergency
  2. Protect public health and safety (non-emergency)
  3. Restore operability to human-made infrastructure

Or, a permit may be issued to remove an inactive eagle nest if:

  1. The removal, or mitigation provided by the applicant, will provide a net benefit to eagles.

Things to consider

Do these definitions strike the appropriate balance between:

  • protecting important breeding structures for eagles,
  • and minimizing the regulatory burden with regard to sites that may have less biological value to eagles?

Should permits be available to remove nests with no eggs or young but which are attended by adults for purposes of breeding, in order to prevent an anticipated (but not yet present) emergency situation?

Should permits be available to remove or relocate active nests, even with eggs or young, for purposes other than safety emergencies?

Should permits to remove inactive nests be available under additional circumstances without requiring applicants to provide a "net benefit" to eagles?

Download handout for Permits for Taking Eagle Nests

Additional Information

Highlighted Topics

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Topics such as permit duration, management objectives, programmatic permit conditions, criteria for eagle nest removal, compensatory mitigation, and low-risk project category were highlighted at public input meetings.

Find out more about these important topics