Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

The annual eagle census

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology, Bird conservation, Bird migration, Bird sightings, Minnesota birding sites Updated: February 22, 2010 - 10:06 AM

Each January since 2005, volunteers at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, have conducted a census of eagles in southeastern Minnesota and adjoining areas in Wisconsin and Iowa.

This year, 93 Golden Eagles, 635 Bald Eagles, and 284 Red-tailed Hawks were counted. This project involved 130 people who drove a combined total of 2,000 miles looking for the birds.

Golden Eagles are of particular interest in this project. The area is a winter home to these birds. Sixty-nine of them were found in Wisconsin, 24 in Minnesota. The birds are found in what is known as the Bluffs and Coulee Region of the Upper Mississippi River.

Perhaps you recall posts last year about a Golden Eagle named Whitey. He was radio-tagged by eagle center personnel and released for spring migration. Whitey spent his summer northwest of Hudson Bay. He’s wandering around southeastern Minnesota right now, his tiny radio transmitter still sending signals.

The eagle center in Wabasha is open daily. It has special events beginning Saturday, March 6. Check the eagle center’s Web site for information: http://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/

There also is a link to a camera providing views of live birds. Monday morning I watched one of the center’s captive education birds sitting quietly in a display area. Shown is a Golden Eagle photographed near Wabasha last year. The white patches on the wings mark this bird as a juvenile.




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