Hello again, Petiet! I think I saw one here (near Burlington) on Friday but I was not sure. However today Sunday, I saw a Vulture near Iowa City. After I saw that (vulture) I figured I was wrong about the Eagle! Could be I was wrong about the Vulture! It has been cold as hell!!
Thank you for the kind words. I got Hubby a telephoto lens for his camera for Christmas (yes, he got it early) and we have been out hoping for some great Eagle shots. To this day we have had dreary days every weekend and no really good shots. You just wait until there is a blue sky on the weekend...then you will see some "up close and personal" pics...hehe. We went to a great site for Eagle watching this morning but the river is very frozen over and they had to congregate way far away on the other side of the river....egads! We did manage to get some shots, but not real close. Keep in mind, the river is about a mile wide and they were closer to the far shore...
Number of nests on Upper Mississippi more than doubles in five years.
The Hawk Eye
It's no longer a "Silent Spring."
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service is reporting a record number of bald eagle nests along the Upper Mississippi River this year, further proof that the national symbol is soaring once again.
There were 167 active nests catalogued in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in 2005, according to a press release issued Monday from the federal government.
That more than doubles the 81 nests identified just five years ago.
The nest produced an estimated 279 eaglets this year.
All of the figures are based on ground searches and aerial surveys conducted by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists, state natural resource managers and volunteers.
"Bald eagle numbers are one measure of habitat health and the value of the refuge," said refuge manager Don Hultman. "The increasing number of active nests and number of eagles that use the refuge during migration and wintering is a good reflection of how water quality has improved since the 1970s. The eagles also tell us how important this refuge is in safeguarding habitat for nesting and feeding."
The population rise of the past five years has been dramatic, but even it doesn't fully reveal the depth of the bald eagle's descent three and a half decades ago.
In 1972, there was only one known bald eagle nest in the entire Upper Mississippi River refuge, which stretches 261 miles from Wabasha, Minn. to Rock Island, Ill.
Scientists and conservationists blame pesticide use in the 1960s, particularly the chemical DDT, for causing female eagles to lay eggs with thin shells that broke before incubation was complete. Threatened with extinction, bald eagles went on the endangered species list.
It was also in the 1960s that naturalist Rachel Carson published her surprisingly successful book "Silent Spring," a trumpet call to curtail pesticide spraying.
DDT was banned in 1972 and eagles began a long rebound that resulted in 1995 with the species jumping off the endangered list and into the threatened column.
Today, more than 6,000 breeding pairs of bald eagles exist nationwide.
Bald eagles are drawn to the Upper Mississippi River refuge in winter by open water below the dams which supply a ready source of fresh, life?sustaining fish.
The refuge's Lost Mound Unit, formerly part of the Savanna Army Depot near Savanna, Ill, hosts as many as 800 eagles during the winter, while a stretch from Genoa to Prairie du Chien, Wis., boasts 90 active nests.
All of this eagle activity adds up to a major tourist attraction, with 3 million visitors to the refuge every year. That makes the "Upper Miss" the most visited refuge in the country.