Looking for Occupied Bald Eagle Nests in Southeastern Wisconsin

The following is reprinted from the WDNR Weekly On-line News dated April 10, 2018:

Ecologists ask for public’s help in reporting occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin

MADISON – State ecologists conducting aerial surveys for occupied bald eagle nests this spring are asking for the public’s help in locating nests in southeastern Wisconsin.

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

The discovery last year of a bald eagle nest in Kenosha County leaves Milwaukee and Walworth counties as the only remaining counties with no confirmed active bald eagle nests, though conservation biologists believe it is only a matter of time before the nation’s symbol sets up housekeeping there too.

“We’ve been able to add a number of ‘new’ bald eagle territories in southeastern Wisconsin over the past couple years, thanks in part to crowd-sourcing information from people calling in their observations as well as the ongoing efforts of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas,” says Sharon Fandel, southeastern district ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Fandel already has completed aerial surveys this spring with DNR pilots to look for occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin and has confirmed seven new nesting locations. About half of them came from citizen reports and the other half resulted from honing in on areas with clusters of reported eagle observations from WBBA and other birding reports.

“Now we’re hoping more people will let us know about possible occupied bald eagle nests to check in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee and Walworth counties,” says Fandel.

Aerial surveys are underway across the state now to check known eagle nests to see if they are actively being used by breeding adult eagles. Survey data are used both internally and externally to protect these nest sites when various activities are being planned across the state.

If you observe an active bald eagle nest, with adults incubating eggs or exhibiting other breeding behaviors, you are encouraged to report your sightings in one of these ways:

In other good news, the bald eagle pair confirmed in Kenosha County last year is back. They’ve built an alternative nest on an adjacent landowner’s property closer to a couple larger ponds, Fandel says.

Bald eagle populations have gradually recovered in Wisconsin and nationally as a result of the banning of the pesticide DDT nationally in 1972 (and in Wisconsin in 1969), a prohibition on killing of eagles, improved water quality in lakes and rivers, nest protection, and reintroduction of eagles in some areas. Bald eagles were removed from Wisconsin’s endangered species list in 1997 and from the federal list in 2007. In 2017, Wisconsin aerial surveys confirmed a record 1,590 occupied nests.

Dianne Moller of Hoo’s Woods and Raptor Friends

Dianne Moller educator, rehabilitator and licensed falconer with Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center in Milton, Wisconsin was a presenter at this year’s Eagle Days along the Fox River. People in the audience got to meet many of her feathered friends.

Eagle Days Along the Fox River – Today

The weather is going to be great today! Last week monitors saw dozens of birds flying or roosting in areas along the Fox. Based on the December survey, the DNR estimated almost 250 eagles in a twenty to thirty mile stretch of river.

Groups of eagles use the largest trees along the Fox River to watch for fish. Photo by Jeff Marquardt.

Take advantage of the winter activity and soar with eagles along the Fox today!

 Schedule

Viewing Sites

Speakers

Audubon Lists 5 Hotspots for Photographing Bald Eagles

Listed in the Winter 2017 issue of the Audubon Magazine were five hotspots for photographing Bald Eagles. They are:

  • Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah
  • Conowingo Dam, Maryland
  • LeClaire, Iowa
  • Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
  • Skagit River, Washington

Today Bald Eagles nest in every state but Hawaii, so the chance of seeing one is a lot easier than back in the 1960s — before DDT was outlawed. In fact, there is good opportunity to see the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley their home.

Although you can see them  all year long, they are especially visible during the winter months because they congregate near the open water of the Fox River. Plan to join us for Eagle Days activities during the next three Saturdays, January 13, 20 and 27th.  See Schedule.

Eagle Monitoring January 13th

Eagle monitoring for this coming Saturday, January 13, 2018, will be from 6:56AM to 8:30AM.  Viewing sites are located throughout the Fox Cities. Citizen scientist eagle monitors will be on hand at each site.

Following the early morning monitoring, a reception will be held at 10:00AM the Atlas Waterfront Cafe for an update by WDNR personnel Bryan Woodbury and Joe Henry on data collected through 2017.

The public is invited to join any of the eagle monitoring activities.

Refreshments will be available.

Eagle Days Along the Fox River 2018

Thousand Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna, Wisconsin along with the Northeast Wisconsin Alliance organization, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other interested enthusiasts are collaborating again to provide opportunities  for everyone to view Bald Eagles along the Fox River during the month of January.

Besides learning about the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley area their home during the winter months, all visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the Fox River and the abundant wildlife viewing it has to offer.

In a nutshell, here are planned events.  Details can be found at Schedule.

  • January 13  Mid-Winter Eagle Monitoring*
    • 6:44-8:35AM Eagle Monitoring at designated sites
    • 10AM-Noon Reception and update on 2016-17 monitoring results at Atlas Waterfront Cafe
  • January 20  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 10:30AM-2:30PM Paper Discovery Center
    • 10AM-3PM Neenah Public Library
    • 7:45-9:15 AM Guided Bird Hikes at various locations
    • 7AM-5PM Self-Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River
  • January 27  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 7AM-5PM 1000 Islands Environmental Center
    • 9AM-NOON Kaukauna Public Library
    • 7AM-5PM Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River (Kaukauna locations only)

Fox Cities Eagle Viewing Map

Other American Bald Eagle viewing opportunities in Wisconsin

*Eagle Monitoring

Eagle monitoring occurs on the second Saturday of the month in the Fox Valley area from November through March. Start times begin one half hour before sunrise and continue for ninety minutes.

There are various locations, most of them public, between the mouth of the Fox River on Lake Winnebago and the Wrightstown Bridge. If you’d like to get out to watch for these amazing soaring creatures, contact Cheryl Root for more information. No experience is necessary and there’s no age limitations.

See also Volunteers, DNR Work to sustain Fox River’s bald eagle population

See also Celebration of Eagles.

Newest Sponsors for Eagle Days

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new sponsors for Eagle Days along the Fox. They are Expera Specialty Solutions and Evergreen Credit Union. Thank you both for helping us present Eagle Days to the public.

Other sponsors include The Boldt Company, Cellcom, WE Energies and the JoAnn Roehl Memorial.

Atlas Waterfront Cafe & Gathering Room, Wild Bird and Backyard and Go Wild with Birds are other contributors toward our event.