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Recovery of Breeding Bald Eagles on Aberdeen Proving Ground
Maryland Birdlife
  • B. D. Watts, The Center for Conservation Biology
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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International
We conducted annual aerial surveys (1991-2011) for breeding Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) within Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), a 350-km2 military installation located along the northwestern shoreline of the upper Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The population increased exponentially from 1 pair in 1977 to 58 pairs in 2011 with an average doubling time of 5.8 years. This rate was higher than that documented for the broader Chesapeake Bay and is comparable to the highest reported throughout the species range. Annual population increase was highly variable and exhibited no indication of any systematic decline. A total of 646 chicks were produced from 464 breeding attempts during this period. The population has exhibited tremendous forward momentum such that more than 50% of young produced over the 21-year period were produced in the last 6 years. Average success rate was high (79.8%) and reproductive rates exceeded conservation targets in nearly all years. Due to the expansion of urban development throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, APG plays an increasingly important role in the recovery and maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle population.
Citation Information
B. D. Watts. "Recovery of Breeding Bald Eagles on Aberdeen Proving Ground" Maryland Birdlife Vol. 63 Iss. 1 (2014) p. 10 - 17
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