-written by Scott Mehus, Education Director, National Eagle Center.
The golden eagles that winter in this area are definitely back on winter territories. I have been out on a daily basis in their territories and have seen several different golden eagles every day because the National Eagle Center is working on a research project studying the golden eagles that winter in the area . On days when I am covering more territory I am generally seeing 8- 10 different golden eagles. Another aspect of our study is trying to determine the wintering population size of golden eagles so that means it is time for theSeventh Wintering Golden Eagle Survey of the Bluffs and Coulee Region of the Upper Mississippi River!!! The 2010 survey had over 140 observers count close to 100 golden eagles!! Many of the observers had stellar views of these magnificent birds of prey. Some observers even had the chance to see golden eagles going after rabbits and a wild turkey!
The survey is always held on the 3rd Saturday in January, so this year’s date will be January 15th 2011. I sure hope that those who are reading this will be interested in participating in this year’s survey!! Even if you have never even seen a golden eagle in the wild, you are still welcome to participate. You will be paired up with observers who have participated in the survey before and are looking for more “eyes” to help scan for raptors on the count day. That is another neat thing about this survey is that you also get the chance to see other cool raptors besides golden eagles. You will definitely get to see red-tailed hawks and bald eagles! In fact, on the 2010 survey over 900 bald eagles were sighted!! If you still want to be more confident in what you are seeing, you have the opportunity to join into a golden eagle seminar/field trip. These will be held on January 4th and January 8th starting at 1:00 at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. We will start out in the classroom and then carpool out into the field to see golden eagles. I have always been able to show people golden eagles on these field trips, and sometimes incredible views. If you have ever wanted to see a golden eagle in our area, this is the most reliable and fun way to do so!! Remember that the golden eagles that winter in this area are not found along the river and in the habitat that they do inhabit they do not stick out, and they also blend in with the landscape, so by coming to the seminar/field trip you will learn where and how to find the golden eagles in our area. Normal admission rates to the non-profit National Eagle Center allow you to take part in the seminar/field trip. Just call or email me to sign up for the seminar/field trip. I can be reached at 651-565-4989 ext. 101 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org