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Golden Eagle Survey results are released

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 WABASHA, Minn. - (WXOW)- On January 18th, volunteers combed the bluffs during the The 10th Annual Wintering Golden Eagle Survey. Volunteers counted 112 golden eagles throughout the valleys of southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

On Sunday, Feb 9th volunteers gathered in Wabasha to hear the results of the survey in person from the Golden Eagle Project co-coordinator and National Eagle Center Education Director, Scott Mehus. In addition to golden eagles spotted, 878 bald eagles and 400 red-tail hawks were also counted. All together, the 171 observers volunteered nearly 700 hours and drove more than 4,600 miles in search of golden eagles during this one-day survey.

One of the most notable findings from this year’s survey was that the number of juvenile golden eagles represented a much smaller proportion of the total than in previous years. Just 19 of the 112 golden eagles observed were sub-adults. Mehus said this matches his observations throughout this winter, but hopes this does not represent a population trend in general. “I’ve probably seen 40-50 individual golden eagles this winter, and only 3 of them have been juveniles.” Typically, juvenile golden eagles make up 25%-30% of the birds observed during the survey.

The Wintering Golden Eagle Survey is part of an on-going project to learn more about the golden eagle population in the blufflands region, including their migration patterns and habitat needs. The Golden Eagle Project is currently tracking golden eagles using GPS-linked satellite telemetry. The annual survey gathers important data to document a regular wintering population of golden eagles in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

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