DEEP: 2006 Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey Results

May 3, 2006

2006 Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey Results

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the results of the 2006 Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey in Connecticut. During the survey period of January 13-14, 66 bald eagles - 44 adults, 19 immature eagles and 3 unknown - were recorded statewide. In 2005, 46 birds were counted. The Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey is not a complete census of the entire wintering population in Connecticut, but an index of the species’ use of the state, which can be compared year to year. The survey is conducted nationwide during a specific time period and is coordinated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center at the Snake River Field Station in Oregon. For more information, go to: http://srfs.wr.usgs.gov/research/indivproj.asp?SRFSProj_ID=2.

Bald eagles migrate south from the northern states during winter to areas of open water where they are able to catch fish, their main food item. "The higher number of bald eagles counted this year can be attributed to milder winter weather leading up to the survey," said Julie Victoria, a wildlife biologist for the DEP Wildlife Division. "While rain on the survey date caused low visibility, the survey results probably underestimate the true number of eagles that were in Connecticut in January."

"As in past years, volunteers from private conservation organizations, the DEP, and the general public helped conduct the survey by recording all eagles seen at areas traditionally used by the birds and areas of suitable wintering habitat," added Victoria. "Our thanks are extended to all the volunteers for reporting their careful observations."

This year, 183 volunteers helped conduct the survey, which is an increase from the 127 volunteers that helped in 2005. Still, several areas that were checked in the past were not surveyed this year. Additional volunteers are still needed to help with the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey in 2007, especially around some of the lakes and reservoirs in western Connecticut.

Those interested in helping with next year’s survey should send a letter providing your name, address and telephone number to Julie Victoria, Wildlife Diversity Program, 391 Route 32, North Franklin, CT 06254.

Summary survey results from 1979-2006 are listed below.

Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey Results 1979-2006
The adult/immature breakdown is not available for 1979-1981

Year

Immature

Adult

Unknown

Total

1979 N/A N/A N/A 20
1980 N/A N/A N/A 11
1981 N/A N/A N/A 26
1982 18 13 0 31
1983 18 17 0 35
1984 17 22 0 39
1985 14 24 0 38
1986 22 18 0 40
1987 15 18 0 33
1988 23 28 1 52
1989 30 58 0 88
1990 53 23 0 76
1991 31 27 0 58
1992 34 27 1 62
1993 31 29 1 61
1994 46 29 0 75
1995 40 26 0 66
1996 83 45 0 128
1997 64 50 0 114
1998 29 20 0 49
1999 27 33 0 60
2000 37 35 0 72
2001 43 34 0 77
2002 20 33 1 54
2003 45 31 1 77
2004 41 50 1 92
2005 20 25 1 46
2006 19 44 3 66