January 17, 2006 notes: year-round residency
Past surveys of wintering eagle distribution revealed frequent use of nests across Maine. Year-round residency is especially prevalent near ice-free coastal waters but occurs even in northernmost interior Maine. Eagles use wintering areas habitually but can patrol a wider area or relocate in response to changes in winter severity and food availability. We found during Mark's research that there may be steady numbers of wintering eagles in a locality, but individual eagles sometimes move broadly across the state or into neighboring New England states.
Management comments: Today's visit was timed to avoid impacts to breeding eagles, but we did not escape their attention. Bald eagles are year-round residents of Maine. Adults appear frequently near nests in all seasons. A territorial presence (even in midwinter) is both a deterrent to other eagles attempting to move in on established nests and an advantage to finding food in familiar foraging habitats. The winter diet influences the fitness of eagles that will soon initiate breeding during March and April. -- Charlie Todd, Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife