Regional Status

By 1980 the bald eagle population in Washington was down to 104 breeding pairs, largely as a result of years of widespread DDT use. This toxic chemical accumulated to dangerous levels in top predators, weakening egg shells and causing failed reproduction in many birds of prey. Loss of nesting trees to development and direct human-caused mortality also contributed to this decline in the eagle population. After the ban of DDT in 1972 and protection of both the eagles and their nesting trees, populations began to recover. In 2005 there were 840 occupied nests in Washington.

In July 2007, bald eagles were no longer considered federally threatened and were downlisted to a species of concern. They were then downlisted by Washington State from threatened to sensitive. Eagles are still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.