Record number of eagles in Wisconsin
A state-wide count of eagles and osprey in Wisconsin found a record number of eagles. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) staff from the Natural Heritage Conservation and Wildlife Management bureaus completed statewide aerial nesting surveys for bald eagles and a limited area of aerial nesting surveys for ospreys in cooperation with WDNR pilots in spring and early summer 2015.
This was the 43rd consecutive year that these wildlife surveys have been completed in Wisconsin, which makes it one of the longest running surveys of its kind in North America. The surveys this year found 1,465 occupied eagle nests, which is the highest number ever recorded. This is an increase of 121 nests over the last survey, taken in 2013. Observers reported 1,248 bald eagle nestlings and a statewide nest success rate of 66% during productivity surveys that occurred in May and June. Occupied eagle nests were observed in 69 of 72 (96%) counties surveyed. Additional project work included nest management guidance, construction project reviews, forest management guidance and winter eagle roost counts along the lower Wisconsin River.
A limited osprey survey was completed in May to locate occupied nests in 14 counties. Surveys found 167 occupied osprey nests within the area covered in the counties of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Iron, Langlade, Milwaukee, Oneida, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Vilas, Waukesha, and Washington in 2015
As in past years, Vilas and Oneida counties had the highest number of occupied eagle nests. These two counties represent most of the Northern Highland Ecological Landscape, which has one of the highest concentrations of lakes in the world. Bald eagles occupied nests in 69 of the state’s counties in 2015 and the number of occupied nests continued to increase in the southwest and northwest portions of the state.
To read more about the survey, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/documents/reports/eagleospreysurv.pdf