Winter Speaker Series

2023-2024 Zoom Speaker Series

Bald Eagles: Recovery, Research & Conservation

Chris DeSorbo,

Director, Raptor Program,
Biodiversity Research Institute

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 7:00 pm
View Zoom Presentation Below

Chris DeSorbo

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) seventh presentation of our 27th annual Winter Speaker Series: Bald Eagles; Recovery, Research & Conservation features Chris DeSorbo, Director of the Raptor Program at Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI). Winter Speaker Series presentations are held via Zoom and are accessible via hyperlink at the top of the FOMB web page: This event takes place Wednesday, April 10th at 7 pm.

The Bald Eagle is among our most widely recognized and most historied North American bird species. Nearly extinct from the widespread use of DDT insecticide weakening their egg shells, the bald eagle continues to recover well in Maine and is one of relatively few success stories of species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); so much so it was delisted in 2007. While no longer protected under the ESA, eagles are still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Merrymeeting Bay has been the second most successful eagle recovery area in Maine after Cobscook Bay alongthe Canadian border. Chris will review a multitude of causes for the population decline, subsequent recovery, and the role Maine’s population played in supporting it. He will also review some past and present Bald Eagle research occurring in Maine and elsewhere, and continuing challenges the species faces in its post-recovery era.

Eaglet (Photo by Logan Route)

Chris DeSorbo joined BRI in 1998, and oversaw a Common Loon behavioral ecology and toxicology study in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes region. As BRI expanded its mercury research to include other species, the raptor program was born. Through the program, Chris initiated what has now become the most extensive Bald Eagle sampling and banding effort in Maine’s history. Recent BRI raptor program projects have emphasized various studies of migrating raptors, and using individual tracking technologies to inform conservation and management decision-making relevant to Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and other raptor species. Chris’s current projects at BRI include evaluating mercury and lead exposure in adult resident Bald Eagles and Common Loons, assessing mercury exposure and risk to North American migrant raptors, and evaluating the use of offshore wind energy areas along the Atlantic coast by migrating Peregrine Falcons and Merlins. In addition to raptor work, Chris also oversees BRI’s projects related to wildlife and solar energy development. Chris has a M.S. in Environmental Studies/Conservation Biology from Antioch University, 2007 and Biology from UNH, 1996.

FOMB hosts our Winter Speaker Series October-May, on the second Wednesday of each month. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and ability for participants to attend from out of the area, the series continues via Zoom. The FOMB May 8th final presentation of this winter season: Fort Western on the Kennebec, 1628-1919 features Linda Novak, Director, Old Fort Western. This event takes place at 7:00 pm with the Zoom registration link available at a week or so prior to the presentation.

Speaker Series presentations are free, open to the public. Visit to see speaker biographies, full event schedules, video recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine.

  1. For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or
Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler