Golden Eagle

Maine Golden Eagle Study

Learn how you can help document golden eagle presence, habitat use, and movements in Maine through community science!

Golden Eagle Study

Photo by Walter Spofford

Photo by Mike Lanzone

Photo by Dave Brandes


In Maine, golden eagles have been listed as endangered within the Maine Endangered Species Act since 1986 and a Species of Greatest Conservation Need within the Maine Wildlife Action Plan (SGCN Priority 2). The last record of golden eagles nesting in Maine was in 1997 at a cliff nest that had persisted for at least 70 years. Maine's last nesting pair failed to hatch eggs every year between 1985 and 1997. A fledgling golden eagle has not been photographed in Maine since this 1960 image. Golden eagles were documented at this site since 1736. Native Americans of the Abenaki Nation named another location in northern Maine for the historic presence of golden eagles: a sketch there in 1689 may be one of the earliest nesting records in North America.

Maine serves as both a migratory corridor and a host of nonmigratory resident goldens. Further, eagles tracked with GPS telemetry have been noted near eyries (nest sites) during summer, suggesting that these locations have the potential to host breeding eagles in the future. However, the extent of use throughout the year remains largely unknown.

More broadly, goldens live in all continents of the northern hemisphere and are of conservation concern in North America as populations are at best stable and may be declining or being held beneath carrying capacity. The eastern population is genetically distinct and is of concern throughout its range due to its small size, vulnerability to human threats, and considerable knowledge gaps. This population is listed as vulnerable or endangered in several states and provinces. Although once breeding throughout the northeastern US, the current population now only breeds in Quebec, Labrador, and Ontario. Historically, little has been known regarding the size, density, habitat use, and distribution of the golden eagle population in eastern North America.


Maine actively engages in the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group (EGEWG), which is dedicated to identifying, prioritizing, coordinating collaborative and independent research and management efforts for the conservation of eastern Golden Eagles. The group focuses on international, regional, and local conservation needs to protect the breeding, migratory, and wintering grounds of the golden eagle population in eastern North America. Their mission is to raise awareness about golden eagles and develop effective conservation strategies.  

As part of this commitment, the EGEWG developed a comprehensive conservation plan, outlining objectives for the species. Maine has taken proactive steps by initiating a study aligned with these objectives. The Maine Golden Eagle Study aims to increase awareness of golden eagles in the state, increase participation in conservation efforts, and address knowledge gaps to inform management actions. The focus of this study is the use of trail cameras to detect the presence of golden eagles, but there are several ways for birders, hunters, landowners, trappers, and wildlife enthusiasts to participate. Learn more at Maine Golden Eagle Study.