Bald Eagle Reintroduction Program
The bald eagle project was the first endangered species restoration project initiated by the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. Before the project's initiation, a study was done to determine if the restoration of bald eagles to Indiana was feasible. The study's results were favorable so the release phase of the project began in 1985 and concluded in 1989. Over a period of five years, 73 bald eagle chicks were released at Monroe Reservoir in Monroe County.
When reaching adulthood at four to five years of age, bald eagles return to within 50-100 miles of where they fledged to nest. Indiana's first successful bald eagle nest in this century was in 1991 at Lake Monroe. The state's last successful nest before then was in 1897. Loss of habitat and decreased reproduction due to pesticides, such as DDT, contributed to the bald eagle's disappearance from Indiana.
Bald eagle nesting is monitored every year and the young eagles are banded with leg identification tags to help track their movements. The number of nesting territories continues to slowly increase. As of 1998, there were nests on rivers and lakes from Tippecanoe County south to Posey County and east to Brown County. At least 87 eaglets have fledged from Indiana nests through 1998 and second generation reproduction has been reported. The number of second generation nesters is expected to expand steadily over the next few years due to the increased number of eaglets fledged each year since 1995.