Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with fish from Kodiak, Alaska. Photo by Yahin S Krishnappa, Creative Commons License.
The Bald Eagle, our national symbol, uses habitat along the entire Truckee River during winter and spring months, but moves to higher elevations during summer (breeding season) and fall, concentrating around Sierra Nevada lakes and reservoirs such as Tahoe, Donner, Stampede, Boca and Prosser (see eBird database). Look for Bald Eagles perched high in trees overlooking the river or other water bodies.
Bald Eagle populations in the United States dropped drastically during the mid-to-late 1900s, due largely to exposure to a pesticide called DDT. Bald Eagles were placed on the Endangered Species List in 1978, but populations began to recover after DDT use was banned in the United States. Eagles were down-listed to “threatened” status in 1995, and delisted completely in 2007, having rebounded from approximately 400 nesting pairs in 1963 to over 10,000 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states (USFWS 2007). According to the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada (2007), Bald Eagles nested on Anaho Island during the 1860s, but were uncommon or absent from Nevada during most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Eagle nests are still extremely rare around the state, but Bald Eagle sightings are increasingly common.
Beedy, Edward C. and Pandolfino, Edward R. 2013. Birds of the Sierra Nevada. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Floyd, Ted; Elphic, Chris; Chisholm, Grant; Mack, Kevin; Elston, Robert; Ammon, Elisabeth; and John Boone. 2007. Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Knopf, Fritz L. and Roger M. Evans. 2004. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Available at: http://0-bna.birds.cornell.edu.innopac.library.unr.edu/bna/species/057
Ryser, Fred A. 1985. Birds of the Great Basin. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Sibley, David Allen. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf; New York.
USFWS. 2013. Seasons of Wildlife, Anaho Island. Website, updated Aug 2013. Available at: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Anaho_Island/seasons_of_wildlife/index.html.