2152 Eagles Counted in Illinois 2012 Mid-Winter Bird Survey

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Statewide surveyors noted eagle counts up from the 2,108 birds counted in last year's survey.

Illinois Audubon Society
We were blessed with pleasant weather and lots of bald eagles

The annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey, coordinated by the Illinois Audubon Society, a land trust and conservation organization, was conducted between the dates of January 4 and January 18, 2012. Nationally, this effort is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The goal of the bird survey is to maintain the long-term, national coordination of the surveys collected, analysis of that data, and reporting of the results.

The 2012 statewide bird surveyors counted 2,152 eagles, up slightly from the 2,108 birds counted in 2011. Surveyors noted that while milder temperatures have kept rivers free of ice, it had been cold enough to freeze most of the backwater areas. Normally surveyors face harsh winter conditions while conducting their surveys. Routes can be treacherous due to ice and/or snow cover, high water levels and sudden snowstorms the day of the survey can impair visibility. "We were blessed with pleasant weather and lots of bald eagles," reported bird surveyor Chris Krusa of the Piasa Palisades Group - Sierra Club Illinois, Glen Carbon.

A total of 44 routes are conducted each year in Illinois. Twenty-nine of those routes are located on the Mississippi River and nine on the Illinois River. Additional routes include Ohio and Wabash Rivers, Crab Orchard Lake, Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area and Carlyle Lake. The largest populations of the eagles spotted were counted along the Mississippi River (76% of the overall total), followed by 36% observed on the Illinois River and 8% sighted on the remaining bird surveys. The number of adults versus immature eagles reported on these surveys, an important indicator of recovery and survival remains at 60% and 40%, respectively.

Information regarding the 2012 survey and previous year's data can be obtained by calling the Illinois Audubon Society.

About the Illinois Audubon Society

The mission of the Illinois Audubon Society is to promote the perpetuation and appreciation of native plants and animals and the habitats that support them. The Illinois Audubon Society is a member supported, not-for-profit, statewide organization. Founded in 1897, the Society is Illinois’ oldest private conservation organization with over 2300 members, 20 chapters and 13 affiliate groups. Illinois Audubon Society has protected over 3000 acres by investing more than $5 million to protect land and water throughout Illinois.

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