Eagle Nature Foundation, Ltd.
300 East Hickory Street, Apple River, IL 61001
Phone: 815-594-2306 Fax: 815-594-2305 Web Site: eaglenature.com
e-mail: email@example.com Tax Exempt No. 36-4015400
|For Immediate Release||February 21, 2014|
ENF Releases Results of Eagle Count
The Eagle Nature Foundation (ENF) has just released the results of its 2014 Annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Count which was conducted on Jan. 25 and 26. This has been the 54th year for this count to be conducted, and has been compiled by Terrence N. Ingram for the past 34 years. It was originally started and compiled for 20 years by Elton Fawks from Moline, before he died. It is the longest annual monitoring of the wintering bald eagle population that has been conducted. Basically the count is conducted by hundreds of volunteers during a two hour period from Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin down to Louisiana, who brave the winter roads and weather to determine how many bald eagles are in their respective areas.
This year a total of 3728 bald eagles were counted; 2700 adults, 180 subadults, 733 immatures and 115 unknowns. This is an immature percentage of 25.3%. The five year average is 25.5%. The 10-year average is 23.8% and the 54-year average is 27.3%. This year’s 5-year average is lower than the 5-year average during the late 1960’s, but higher than the first 5-year average during the early 1960’s. The highest 5-year average of 32.4% was recorded during the late 1980’s, when our Midwestern bald eagle reproduction was at its peak. The lowest 5-year average of 19.4% was in the early 1960’s, and the second lowest average of 22.0% was in the later half of the 2000’s .
In the years immediately before DDT was banned the 5-year averages were 28.5% and 29.3%. This indicates that in spite of what the news media and government agencies are saying DDT was not the immediate cause for the decline of the bald eagle population. What the true cause was is unknown! The last 10-year average from 2005 to 2014 is 23.8%, while the first 10 year average for the 1960’s is almost identical at 23.5%. This indicates that the Midwestern bald eagle population’s reproduction is back to where it was in the 1960’s. There are 5 times as many bald eagles recorded now, but their reproduction is not any better than it was back then. Then the population was rebounding. Now it seems to be trending downward.
What is most alarming is the number of subadults, or 4-year old birds. A healthy population should have about 10 subadults to every 90 immatures, or 10%. This year we recorded about 25% instead of only 10%. This indicates that something seems to happening to the immatures above the normal rate. Could it be starvation, or poisoning, or could the immatures just be moving further South? With the tremendous increase in the use of chemicals being used in our environment, a person has to wonder whether or not these chemicals may be working their way through the food chain and killing our bald eagles under 4 years of age?
What is most alarming is the loss of many historic communities of wintering bald eagles. This has been documented by the research that ENF has done over the years, and this year with certain dams recording no eagles, or just one or two, where they used to have 40 to 60 birds recorded during past counts. Have these communities lost their food source, so the bald eagles have had to move to other locations, or did they die off from some yet unknown cause?
The results that have been recorded by these Midwinter counts fly right in the face of the publicity that the government agencies have been putting out. Now that President Obama has declared “war on the eagles” with his proposal that allows wind farms to kill eagles because the deaths won’t have any affect on the bald eagle population, other agencies have been trying to spread the message that the bald eagle population is so big, we can lose a few birds.
It may be just the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If our bald eagle reproduction is back to where it was in the 1960’s, how long will it take before the whole bald eagle population falls back to that point?
We must remain vigilant, if we are to keep our National Symbol flying free.
For more information contact: Terrence N. Ingram, Exec. Director, Eagle Nature Foundation, 300 East Hickory St., Apple River, IL 61001 Phone 815-594-2306