Young bald eagles are nomadic during their first four years of life. They explore over hundreds of miles, dispersing, seeking territories of their own. They acquire adult plumage at about age 5. Bald eagles can live for more than 30 years.
The bald eagle’s return to the Lower 48 is a conservation success story. From a low in the 1950s of about 3,000 nesting pairs, there are now about 10,000 pairs of bald eagles nesting in the Lower 48. That’s about half as many that nested here historically.
In flight, mature bald eagles are relatively easy to identify. They have a dark brown body with white head and tail. In Missouri, they are observed near lakes, rivers, and marshes, particularly in winter.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature. Read more about our mission.