MA: Bald Eagles Thrive on South Shore

The bald eagle population is beginning to bloom in the South Shore, decades after a population recovery effort in Massachusetts took effect.

Jason Zimmer, Southeast Wildlife District Supervisor of the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife shares why Massachusetts became a part of preserving the eagle population after man-made chemicals nearly wiped them out:

“Back in the early 1900s, the population was virtually extinct in the lower 48, due to pesticide use — DTD. In Massachusetts, in particular, it got started in the early 1980s,” says Zimmer. “We built a hacking tower, which is basically a pseudo-nest, where we raised chicks that came from Canada and the Midwest, with the idea that raising them there and then fledging them in Quabbin Reservoir would lead them to establish nests somewhere in the area.”

Thanks to many years of population recovery efforts, bald eagles were delisted from the Federal Endangered Species Act in 2007.

The first wild nest in the state, made after the recovery project began, was spotted in 1989; today, there are 57 active bald eagle nests in Massachusetts, and 650 confirmed chicks have been birthed in the last 28 years.

In the South Shore, the North and South Rivers are bald eagle hotspots, as is Eel River and Manomet in Plymouth. There’s also a nest at Silver Lake, on the Pembroke side.

More eagle eggs in the area are expected to hatch within the next two weeks.

Zimmer has a message to share for South Shore residents who come across an eagle’s nest:

“We’re finding they are a little more tolerant of people than we thought, so we have nests that are in heavily-used public areas. But if you see a nest and you know there’s a nest there, getting close to it does disturb the birds so it’s good to give them space.” 

If you believe you’ve seen a bald eagle and/or its nest, especially near a river or another body of water, Zimmer advises that you contact the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Photo Credit: Zimmerman

Two eagles at the Cove Creek Outlet of the North River, upstream of the Roht Marine/Rt 3A – Photo Credit: Jason Zimmer

Photo Credit: Jason Zimmer

Two eagles at the Cove Creek Outlet of the North River, upstream of the Roht Marine/Rt 3A – Photo Credit: Jason Zimmer


About Mimi Walker

Mimi Walker is a 2016 graduate from Emerson College, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. While at Emerson, she was both an avid reporter and an on-air music personality at 88.9 WERS, Emerson’s long-running radio station. She also wrote for several on-campus publications. She covered the 2015 Edward R. Murrow awards in New York City, and had previous internships at 103.3 AMP radio and at Seacrest Studios in Boston Children’s Hospital (as well as with Rob and Lisa on the South Shore Morning News!) Her proudest academic achievement is being a TOMODACHI scholar and contributing to an iBook about American Senator and war hero Daniel Inouye, which led her all across Japan in her many school travels. Thanks to her time in Japan, and a semester abroad in the Netherlands, Mimi has an appetite for stories and all kinds of art across the globe.