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: firstname.lastname@example.org Tax Exempt No. 36-4015400
|For Immediate Release||February 23, 2015|
Apple River, IL) The Eagle Nature Foundation has released the results of its 55th Annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Count. Terrence Ingram, count compiler for the past 35 years states "The results of this year’s count are very disturbing. It confirms that the downward trend of the Bald Eagle Population along the Mississippi River is continuing. This year the hundreds of volunteers who participated in conducting the count, found only 1343 birds, of which only 319 were immatures. That is compared with the 3728 birds found in last year’s count. This year’s total is the fewest number of bald eagles recorded since 1992. This count indicates that the bald eagle reproduction peaked during the 1980’s and has been on a steady decline ever since. All a person has to do is look at the 10 year averages of the percentage of immatures."
In order to get the number of birds that the volunteers did find, many people were counting bald eagles in areas away from the Mississippi River, including the Wisconsin, Rock, and Illinois Rivers as well as inland away from any major river. As Mr. Ingram states, "If only the areas, which had been counted in the early 1960’s, were considered, they actually contained fewer bald eagles than had been counted at that time. It indicates that something is happening to our bald eagle population and we need to look into it immediately, before it is too late."
The Mississippi River had a decline of 2299 bald eagles, the Wisconsin River had a decline of 52 birds and the Rock River had a decline of 181 birds, with an overall decline on the total count of 2385 birds from last year. Some dams, which have had populations of 600 to 800 birds in past years, only had 20-80 birds this year. Did they lose their food source on the Mississippi River and move, or have they died?
People have been making many excuses for the low number of eagles being present in their areas. Down south the people say that the bald eagles never came south, because of the open water up north, while up north there is the least amount of open water that there has been for years. Up north they say that the birds must have gone south this year. But neither statement is based on facts.
Since the late 1980’s this count has documented the collapse of one after another of the bald eagle wintering communities along the Mississippi River. Each community gradually lost its immatures, then that community’s numbers gradually declined, until there were just a few adults left, and gradually these disappeared until there were no birds left. For years other communities seemed to reproducing well enough to offset these declines, so it was not apparent to a casual observer when he or she looked at the total numbers, but could be seen by anyone looking at the numbers over many years.
The percentages of immatures on the Wisconsin, Rock and Illinois Rivers give a person cause for hope. The Wisconsin River had an increase in the percentage of young from 27.3% last year to 41.3% this year. The Rock River had an increase from 32.4 last year to 41.2% this year. The Illinois River had an increase from 23.3% last year to 29.5% this year. All of these rivers had a percentage above 50 % during the 1980’s, when reproduction was at its peak. During the past few years we have seen kills of bald eagles in Utah and Idaho, which were attributed to West Nile Virus, bald eagle kills in the Midwest which were attributed to lead poisoning, and now we have bald eagles in Georgia dying from a new bacteria. Mr. Ingram feels that there is something else affecting the bald eagle population, such as Glyphosate, the main chemical in Roundup, which is working its way through the food chain up to the bald eagles, just like DDT was doing when this annual count was first started in 1961 by the late Elton Fawks. Mr. Ingram states, "It seems as if Glyphosate is something that our government does not want to look for. It is found in all GMO foods and moves through the food chain just like DDT was doing in the 1960’s. I know it creates CCD in our honeybees and I believe it is the main cause of the decline in our Monarch Butterflies and is affecting our bald eagles as well."
For more information contact: Terrence N. Ingram, Exec. Director, Eagle Nature Foundation, 300 East Hickory St., Apple River, IL 61001 Phone 815-594-2306