The recent discovery of a banded bald eagle near Vincennes has given the Indiana Department of Natural Resources insight into the success of bald eagle reintroduction efforts over the last two decades.
The DNR reports that a bald eagle was found dead on Sept. 30 sporting a band on each leg that identified her as eagle H81. Records show that she was banded as a nestling in April 1998 as one of 20 surviving eaglets from 11 total nests that year.
Eagle H81 had not been reported since 1998, but officials say it’s likely that she had nested along either the Wabash or the White River for many years.
The discovery confirms that bald eagles in Indiana are finding suitable habitats and mates and remaining in the area, where they continue to reproduce and boost the state’s recovering population. In 2019, the DNR recorded over 300 bald eagle nests.
Banding eagles with identifying numbers and letters has historically been part of Indiana’s reintroduction process for bald eagles, which were listed as endangered when the program began in 1985. In the first five years of the program, DNR officials released 73 eagles near Lake Monroe in the hopes of reviving the population.
As of 2008, bald eagles are no longer considered endangered in Indiana, but researchers still track data on birds in order to monitor the health of the population and learn more about their behavioral patterns.