Bald Eagles in Yellowstone

If you’re looking to get a close-up look at America’s national symbol, Yellowstone National Park is a great place to do it.
Bald Eagle Reflection

Bald Eagle. 

Bald eagles are often spotted soaring through the skies, especially around lakes and rivers, so don’t forget to look up when hiking and driving through the park.

Adult bald eagles (those 5 years and older) are large, dark birds with a head and tail that are completely white. They stand 30-45 inches tall, with the females being slightly larger than their male counterparts. Eagles less than 5 years old, called “immatures,” have a dark brown to black body with whitish linings on the undersides of their wings. They will acquire the signature “bald” head as white feathers take the place of darker feathers with each molting.

Bald eagles are members of the raptor (bird of prey) family, and they typically eat fish, waterfowl, rodents and small mammals. Bald eagles will also scavenge on elk and bison carcasses.

Bald eagle feeding on a lake trout on Lewis Lake in Yellowstone. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco

Bald eagle feeding on a lake trout on Lewis Lake in Yellowstone. 

Eagles on Endangered List 1980s to 2007

Researchers began studying Yellowstone’s bald eagle population in the 1980s when the bird was put on the federal list of endangered species. Monitoring continues even though the bird was removed from the list in 2007. Scientists estimate that between 40 and 60 percent of nests produce eggs with each nesting pair producing .71 eaglets.

Where to See Bald Eagles in Yellowstone

Where to look for bald eagles depends on the season. Hayden Valley and Madison River are great places to see eagles all year round, whereas Yellowstone Lake is a great spot in the summer months and the Gardiner River is a good place to look during the colder winter months.

Bald eagle in Yellowstone. Photo by NPS

Bald eagle in Yellowstone. 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle. 



Burrowing Owl

Owls of Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park’s owl population is difficult to spot due to their nocturnal habits. However, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one of these incredible birds.

Yellowstone Wildlife Bald Eagle

Yellowstone Wildlife Field Guide: Birds

Happily, many species of birds in Yellowstone today are success stories, having come back from zero or very low population levels just a few decades ago. Good examples are the osprey, bald eagle, and most recently, the peregrine falcon.

River Otter at Trout Lake in Yellowstone

Yellowstone River Otters

If you’re lucky in Yellowstone National Park, you’ll get a chance to see one of the park’s most playful inhabitants: the Yellowstone river otter.

Mountain Chickadee in Wyoming

Go Birding in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah

The beautiful trumpeter swans are the largest North American waterfowl and the world’s heaviest flying birds. Great birding abounds in Wyoming, Utah, Montana, and Idaho

Bison along Rose Creek in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Bison (Buffalo) FAQs

These large mammals are abundant in the park, stand 6 feet tall, and weigh over half a ton. There are typically 4,000-5,000 bison in Yellowstone.

Black bear

5 Things to Know About Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park

Finding wildlife in Yellowstone requires patience and a willingness to brave the elements and early morning hours. Here are some pro tips.

Trumpeter swans taking off from Yellowstone Lake. Photo by NPS Jim Peaco

Trumpeter Swans Bounce Back in Yellowstone Country

A record number of swans are calling southwest Wyoming their winter home, giving biologists and conservationists something to trumpet about.

Otter at Willow Flats in Grand Teton National Park

5 Small Animals to Look for in Grand Teton National Park

Keep your eye out for these charismatic small animals. Though they may be smaller in size than elk, moose, bison and bears, they have just as much star quality.

A woman watching a bison from a safe distance in Yellowstone

How close can I get to wild animals in Yellowstone?

Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from other large mammals like bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes.