bald eagle

Wikimedia Commons Joel Trick-USFWS

As tax season is in full swing, a state spokesperson says Wisconsinites can double the difference they make for rare and native species and natural areas through a donation on their 2017 Wisconsin income tax form.

Drew Feldkirchner directs the DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program...

"...this time of year we remind people that there's the Endangered Resources Fund check off on your tax form.. It's a chance to donate to the Endangered Resources Fund which helps to fund a variety of efforts to restore native and rare species and their habitats...."

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.

Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR

The D-N-R says observers counted a record 15-hundred-four occupied eagle nests throughout the Badger State this past spring.

Eagles and other raptors were close to extinction as recently as the 1970s before the pesticide D-D-T was banned, and new federal and state laws protected bald eagles. Aerial surveys found 1,504 occupied eagle nests, 39 more nests than the previous year and compared to 108 in 1973. Osprey nests also were found in record numbers: 558 occupied , up from 542 in 2014. Ospreys were found in 58 of 72 counties.

George Gentry, USFWS

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information about the death of a bald eagle, two ravens and a raccoon this summer in the town of Pine Lake north of Rhinelander.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Tina Shaw says the dead birds and raccoon were found in July...

"...we got the information back from our forensic lab showing the raccoon carcass had been laced with a carbofuran and the birds had ingested that while scavenging on the raccoon...."

Wisconsin's eagle population is growing, but a Northwoods animal rehab owner says hunters and fishers can do more to help preserve the population. The DNR findings are a record amount of birds since the surveys began 43 years ago.

The DNR reported this week aerial surveys found 1,465 occupied bald eagle nests this year, 121 more than were found two years ago. Mark Naniot from Wild Instincts Rehab near Rhinelander says there's a real danger from hunting and fishing leftovers...

What To Do With a Deer Heart? Give It To An Eagle, Says REGI

Nov 28, 2014
Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

With just a few days left in Wisconsin’s gun deer season, hunters who do get a deer may be looking for a use for its heart.

Marge Gibson of Antigo’s Raptor Education Group says that organ is an ideal food for eagles and other raptors. 

“The deer heart is a perfect food for our birds.  We currently have 42 bald eagles in our care, and they go through an awful lot of food.  So it’s an excellent source of protein for them, and it’s hunters helping hunters.” 

Every year the wildlife rehabilitation center asks for donations of deer hearts.

Oneida, Vilas Counties Hotspots for Bald Eagle Recovery

Sep 2, 2014
Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It’s no longer uncommon to see a bald eagle in the Northwoods. 

Oneida and Vilas counties have the highest number of pairs of bald eagles in Wisconsin, according to the most recent DNR survey in 2013.

After disappearing from most areas of the state in the mid-20th century, there are now more than 1300 pairs of eagles in Wisconsin. 

Ron Eckstein, a retired DNR Wildlife Biologist, worked on eagle conservation efforts for more than 25 years.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Eckstein to hear more about bald eagle success story.

Sowinskis Plead Guilty In Eagle Poisoning Case

May 15, 2014
Ron Holmes / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A father and son from Sugar Camp have pled guilty in federal court to illegal possession of a dead bald eagle.

65-year-old Alvin Sowinski and 46-year-old Paul Sowinski were arrested last fall after authorities found mounting evidence of animal poisoning.

A DNR Warden began the investigation in May 2007 after finding a bald eagle, crow, gray squirrel and bobcat on the Sowinski property…all dead from consuming a poison called Carbofuran.  Between 2007 and 2010 officials say they found dozens of poisoned animals, including at least two bald eagles.

Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Next, we hear from DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz with his commentary, "Wildlife Matters". 

He says even though eagle numbers have rebounded, this time of the year can be deadly for our national symbol.

"Wildlife Matters" with DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz is heard most weeks during Morning Edition on WXPR.

Cars Pose Significant Risk to Bald Eagles

Apr 24, 2014
Ron Holmes / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Spring migration means more birds arriving in the Northwoods, including eagles. 

DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz says by some estimates, car strikes represent the leading cause of eagle deaths.

Holtz explains that eagles typically take flight from high up in a tree.  But in times of low food availability they turn to roadside carcasses which can put eagles in the path of danger.   

Bald Eagle Models Foster Parenting

Jun 14, 2013
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

This Father’s Day weekend, we take a look at a story of model parenting from an unlikely place: the world of birds.  We meet a bald eagle who’s done a remarkable job as a foster father to over a hundred and fifty orphaned chicks.

They call him Amp. 

“People are always surprised when I say we have a foster dad eagle.  And they’re like, “well where’s the mom?” Well, it would be great if we had a mom…but we don’t have a non-releasable mom .  And he does such a great job.”