Bald Eagle populations in Illinois are on the rise. In 1980, Bald Eagles were found breeding only in extreme Southern Illinois, but in surveys during 2008, nesting pairs were found in 67 Illinois counties. Part of the increase is attributed to the ban of DDT in 1972, but according to INHS Ornithologist Mike Ward, that was just the beginning. Environmental regulations have led to cleaner waterways (enabling eagles to more easily catch fish) and eagles have become more comfortable around humans. Being able to be near people gives them a lot more places to breed in Illinois, Ward said.