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Characteristics of Bald Eagle Nesting Habitat in Florida

Petra Bohall Wood, Thomas C. Edwards, Jr. and Michael W. Collopy
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 53, No. 2 (Apr., 1989), pp. 441-449
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801148
Page Count: 9
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Characteristics of Bald Eagle Nesting Habitat in Florida
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Abstract

We identified land use and ownership associated with 116 active bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nests, measured physical characteristics of the nest trees, and quantified the habitat surrounding nest trees in 4 major nesting regions in Florida: Alachua and Marion counties (AMC), Ocala National Forest and vicinity (ONF), Osceola and Polk counties (OSP), and Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties (LCS). Twenty-eight and 72% of the nests were on lands controlled by government agencies and corporate and private lands, respectively. The greatest potential disturbance to bald eagle habitat appears to be in LCS, where 32.1% of the nests had urban development as the major land use within a 457-m secondary zone around the nest tree. Commercial timber harvest on private and public lands also presents a significant disturbance to bald eagles and is of major concern in ONF, where 78.6% of nests had commercial timber harvest as the major land use in the secondary zone. Most nests (97%) were located in pine (Pinus spp.) trees; 91 (81%) were in live pines. Nest trees tended to be slightly taller than the surrounding canopy, but these differences were not statistically significant. Bald eagles in different regions of Florida are confronted with different types and amounts of human disturbance and development, and management plans should take regional differences into account.

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