South Dakota Bald Eagle Awareness Days         Bald Eagle Awareness Days
Winter Eagle Viewing

Adult has dark body with white head and tail. Adult is dark brown with a golden nape of neck.
Immatures are dark-bodied with irregular white mottling in wings and tail. Immatures are dark-bodied with white in wing patch and at base of tail.
Legs are feathered to mid-leg only. Legs are completely feathered.
Weigh 6-14 pounds; wingspread is 6-8 feet. Weigh 7-13 pounds; wingspread is 5-7 feet.
Females 1/3 larger than males. Females 1/3 larger than males.

The Past: When Europeans first arrived in North America, the continent had an estimated 50,000 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states. Shooting, habitat loss, and the accumulation of pesticides such as DDT in the food chain reduced this species nearly to the point of extinction.

The Present: With the banning of DDT in the United States and the protection offered by the Endangered Species Act, the bald eagle has rebounded. The lower 48 states currently have an estimated 6,500 bald eagle pairs. Cooperative conservation efforts led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify the bald eagle as a threatened species. In South Dakota, the bald eagle is a state threatened species.

The Future: Continued habitat loss is likely as we try to meet our demands for energy, timber, food, and development space. Pollution effects, illegal shooting, and illegal poisoning are all likely to continue to hurt the bald eagle and other wildlife species. Increased law enforcement can help protect individuals, but without a check on loss of diverse habitats, the bald eagle and many other species will continue to face survival challenges in the future.

 Bald Eagle Awareness Days

 Watching Eagles


 Educational Activities


Download an eagle brochure (PDF file) by clicking here. Brochures can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks at 523 East Capitol Avenue in Pierre, South Dakota 57501.  If you have questions or comments, email or call the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks at (605) 773-4229.