Record Eagle Nests Counted, Oneida Co. Might Have Peaked

Dec 6, 2017

One of nearly 1,600.
Credit Wisconsin DNR

It's a record year for eagle numbers in Wisconsin and Vilas and Oneida counties lead the way.

The Wisconsin DNR first took eagle surveys in 1974 after the ban on the pesticide DDT took effect in 1972. The pesticide was a main cause in eagle numbers to plummet. But their recovery in Wisconsin reached a record this year with 1,590 active nests recorded, 86 more than a year ago. This includes a new eagle nest in Kenosha county, the first time an eagle nest has been seen there in more than a century.

Jim Woodford, A DNR section chief based in Rhinelander, says there were quite a few new pairs of eagles in the southern part of the state, including the Kenosha county nest...

"....the landowner contacted us. That's a new area in Kenosha county. Mostly down there we highlight the lakeshore of Lake Michigan and a few of the smaller lake areas. But this(nest) showed up in a river system. If the landowner hadn't contacted us we probably wouldn't have heard about it...."

Vilas and Oneida counties lead the state in nests, with 168 in Vilas, and 141 in Oneida. But for the first time, no new nesting spots were found in Oneida county...

"....we've been expecting that. The surprising thing is we've been expecting that years ago, but they keep 'filling in' and their territories keep shrinking. We expect this is really the county is full of nesting eagles. No more space..."

Bald eagle nests numbered 108 statewide when the surveys started in the early 1970s, when bald eagles were listed as state and federally endangered species. Bald eagles were removed from the state endangered species list in 1997 and the federal list in 2007.

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