about south river federation

Another Indicator of a Healing South River!

In 2016, the South River Federation was excited to discover a group of 25 Bald Eagles! The South River is seeing more and more indications that fish and other wildlife populations are improving, including increases in underwater grasses and an overall uptick in water clarity. A large group of eagles, like the one seen earlier this year, is called "Convocation" and we are very grateful they find this river a good place to fish. Bald Eagles require a strong food base, perching areas, and nesting sites and the South River is providing just that.

View more Photos of the Bald Eagles on the South River here. Thanks to Bridgette Roncone Guyer for capturing this "convocation" of Bald Eagles!

A Bit of Bald Eagle History

Forty years ago, our national symbol was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range with only 487 nesting pairs of bald eagles remaining. Bald eagles fed on prey contaminated with the pesticide, DDT, which was widely used to control mosquitoes in the mid 20th century. Researchers found that DDT caused  birds to produce eggs with very thin shells, which would often break when the parents perched on the nest. Since the DDT ban in 1972, nesting success has steadily increased each year.

By 1996, in the Chesapeake Bay along, 378 active Bald Eagle nesting pairs produced 517 young! By 2013, it was estimated that 1,300 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles resided in the tidal portions of the Chesapeake. This is why we are so excited to see this large "convocation" on the South River! Improved habitat as well as improved food sources are some of the reasons for the rebound in the watershed. 

Bald Eagle Fun Facts

  • The scientific name, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, means "white-headed sea eagle." 
  • The largest bald eagle nest on record was found in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep, according to theGuinness Book of World Records.
  • Bald eagles are thought to be monogamous. This means that once the birds find a mate, they will continue to only mate with each other for the rest of their lives.
  • Bald eagles have a massive wingspan of about 6 - 8 feet.