News Release

Eagle Nature Foundation, Ltd.

300 East Hickory Street, Apple River, IL 61001

Phone: 815-594-2306 Fax: 815-594-2305 Web Site:

e-mail: Tax Exempt No. 36-4015400

For Immediate Release February 17, 2017

2017 Midwinter Bald Eagle Count Results Released

Apple River, IL) Terrence Ingram, Coordinator for the Eagle Nature Foundation's Midwinter Bald Eagle Count has just released the results of the 2017 Annual Count, which was conducted by many volunteers between Minnesota and Tennessee. This is the 57th year for this count to be conducted. This count was conducted in primarily a two hour period, from 9:00 to 11:00 am on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. The reason this count is conducted during the last weekend in January is that normally the end of January is between the bald eagle's Southern migration and the Northern migration. The two hour time frame is to keep the duplication of bald eagle sightings to a minimum.

This year 1,257 bald eagles were sighted. Of these 795 were adults, 62 were sub-adults, 299 were immatures and 101 were of unknown age. This resulted in an immature to adult ratio of 31.2 %, which is just slightly below last year's ratio of 31.8 %, even though almost 50% more eagles were counted this year than last year. Part of the reason more eagles were counted is because we had more volunteers counting in more areas than last year. Volunteers included US Army Corps personnel, Fish & Wildlife personnel, many conservation organizations as well as many, many individuals from northern Wisconsin down to Tennessee and out to eastern Nebraska.

If we would look at just the same areas the count covered in the early 1960's, the numbers we are seeing now are lower than they were at that time. Those same areas this year recorded only a total of 413 bald eagles, with 307 adults, 28 subadults, 38 immatures and 40 of unknown age. This is only about 2/3 of the numbers that were seen on the very first count in 1961, when 621 bald eagles were counted. Isn't anyone else alarmed? Have they moved away from the Mississippi? If so, where?

We can even look at long term trends. The count's first five year average of immature to adult ratios was 19.4 % and the second 5-year average was 28.5%. Our last five year average of immature to adult ratios is only 25.5 %, which is lower than even the second 5-year average. Ever since then this five year average has been higher, reaching a high of 32.4% about 1988 and 30.8% in 1998. The 10 year averages have gone from 21.5% in the first 10 years up to 31.6% in the third 10 years and back down to 26.8% in the past 10 years. This compares with the 57 year average of 27.3%.

The bald eagle population was reproducing well from about 1968 until about 2005. Since then something is affecting its reproduction and bringing the 5 averages back to a level that is below what it was during the second five years of the count.

We must determine what is affecting our bald eagle population before this percentage drops even further!

For more information contact: Terrence N. Ingram, Exec. Director, Eagle Nature Foundation, 300 East Hickory St., Apple River, IL 61001 Phone 815-594-2306

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