The Bald Eagle

Outdoor Outpost: August 2023

Joe Schuster | August 1, 2023

Great news from our friends at the GA DNR. The bald eagle is making a nice recovery in our state. Last year saw some really poor nesting numbers in areas that have been typically our strongest. Dr. Bob Sargent, program manager for DNR’s Conservation Section, felt that considering the avian flu that hit eagles and vultures quite hard, the nestings increases are really good to see. Despite the increases, the bald eagle still remains on our threatened list but no longer on the endangered list.

“The comeback of the bald eagle in Georgia is a great conservation success story, but the species is listed as threatened in the state and if high nest failures continued, they could chip away at population gains. I’m pleased to see the nest success rates rebound this year,” said Sargent.

But there are several factors that have helped our nation’s symbol along the way. DDT was used several decades ago to kill insects harmful to crops. However, the U.S. banned its use in 1972. Federally mandated acts to clean up our air and water helped as well, and the eagle had been on the list of endangered species until 2007. In addition, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are still in place.   

My family had the opportunity to see one in action on a recent trip to Lake Lanier. Once you see the large white head and humongous wing span, there’s no doubt that it’s an eagle. We really got a show that day when after soaring around a nearby island, it made the streaking attack down toward the water to snag a fish in its talons.

Fun Eagle Facts

How fast did that diving eagle go? Well, they can fly up to 30 mph and dive at up to 100 mph.

Are they born bald? No, they develop white head and tail feathers by 4 to 6 years of age.

How long does it take them to learn to fly? They learn to fly at about three months of age.

How old was the one I saw at the lake? Well, I’m not sure, but they can live 30 years or more in the wild. I hope you get to see one soon!


Table 1
7/28-30GON Outdoor BlastBartow County, Lakepoint Sports, Emerson800.438.4663
8/03Family Fishing EventHouston Co., Flat Creek PFA478.283.7041
8/05Family Fishing EventJasper Co., Mansfield, Marben PFA470.259.7269
8/15Squirrel Season OpenerStatewide706-557-3333
8/15WMA Dove Hunt Quota DeadlineStatewide706-557-3333
8/19Kids’ Fishing EventWhite Co., Cleveland, Buck Shoals WMA706.947.1503
09/01WMA Deer Hunt Quota DeadlineStatewide706-557-3333

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