Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is changing the timing of its annual survey of eagles from mid-winter to spring, according to a division press release (which I could not find on-line). The change is to better track the state’s growing breeding eagle population, rather than its over-wintering population.
“This is a good time to shift our focus to our growing population of resident, nesting birds,” said Tom French, Assistant Director of Natural Heritage and Endangered Species in the release. “For several years, we have been aware of resident eagles in areas where no nest has ever been found. By shifting annual surveys from midwinter to early spring, we hope to have cooperators and MassWildlife staff locate active nests for all known pairs and visit other bodies of water across the state to look for additional breeding eagles.”
Massachusetts began participating in the national midwinter count in 1979 when only eight bald eagles were reported in Massachusetts, the release says. The new Breeding Eagle Count will be similar to the Midwinter Eagle Survey.
More information on the survey will be available in a future issue of the Division’s MassWildlife News.
Photo by Dave Menke, courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service