WDFW assessing status of rebounding raptor populations


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News release

Contact: Taylor Cotten, 360-902-2505
Media: Samantha Montgomery, 360-902-2561

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public input on its draft periodic status reviews for the bald eagle and peregrine falcon.  

Both species have previously been removed from Washington’s list of state endangered species due to population recovery in the state. Based on the latest available information, WDFW biologists recommend that both birds retain their status as successfully recovered.

The public comment periods for the bald eagle and peregrine falcon draft status reviews are open through May 27, 2024.

“Careful management and protection has enabled recovery of both of these species,” said Taylor Cotten, WDFW conservation assessment section manager. “To have evidence now that affirms the 2016 decision to delist these species in Washington - this is absolutely a conservation success story. Washington now has robust populations of bald eagles and peregrine falcons, and both species will continue to be an important and thriving part of our state's natural diversity for the foreseeable future.”

The draft Periodic Status Reviews for bald eagle and peregrine falcon are now available on WDFW’s website. The public can submit written comments on the documents via email or by mailing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ATTN: Taylor Cotten, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA 98504.

All members of the public are invited to share their perspectives and participate in WDFW public feedback opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, language proficiency, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, or basis of disability.

“Following the public comment period, we will finalize the Periodic Status Reviews and brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on the recommendations,” said Cotten.

The Commission is tentatively scheduled to consider these topics in June.

Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) are well distributed in Washington, but the majority of the population is found west of the Cascade Range. Bald eagles are found near marine environments and nearly all major waterways, inland lakes, and reservoirs. Bald eagles were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007 and delisted in Washington in 2016.

Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) can be found at high elevation locations in nearly all parts of the state, with the highest densities along the northern outer coast and San Juan Islands. They can also be found in Cascade Range foothills, along the Columbia River, and in other water bodies within the Columbia Basin. Peregrine falcons were federally delisted in 1999, but were not considered recovered in Washington until 2016.

Despite population recovery in Washington, peregrine falcons and bald eagles both remain classified as "protected wildlife" under Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Bald eagles are also federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

WDFW regularly analyzes and reviews information to inform status and classification recommendations for species listed as endangered, threatened, or sensitive in Washington. WDFW is also required to conduct a status review five years after removing a species from Washington’s list of endangered, threatened, or sensitive species to confirm that the species is still meeting recovery objectives. More information is available on WDFW’s At-Risk Species webpage.

WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.