A record number of occupied bald eagle and osprey nests were observed during spring raptor surveys in Wisconsin, according to the 2016 Wisconsin Bald Eagle and Osprey Survey Report.
The aerial surveys confirmed 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 osprey nests were observed in Wisconsin, up from 542 in 2014.
Osprey populations in Wisconsin declined dramatically from the 1950s to early 1970s in response to pesticides and the loss of suitable nest habitat.
At present, 75 percent of Wisconsin osprey nests are built on artificial platforms erected on utility poles, cell phone towers, and other tall structures.
The 2016 effort marked the 44th consecutive year that the bald eagle occupancy survey has been completed in Wisconsin, which makes it one of the longest running surveys of its kind in North America.
The 2016 midwinter eagle survey showed an impressive 87 percent increase in wintering eagles across the state of Wisconsin over the previous winter’s count.
Winter eagle-related events and activities draw tourists, and communities hosting them have lifted the state’s visibility as an ecotourism and bird-watching destination.
Because eagle and osprey populations are healthy and growing, this year DNR did not conduct the second aerial survey it has done in past years to assess the reproductive success of the breeding pairs. Resources are being redirected to other non-game species needing field surveys.
source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources