Eagle And Osprey Numbers Reach A 40-Year High

More Than 1,500 Eagle Nests Were Recorded In This Year's DNR Survey
Disqus Comments
John W. Iwanski (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A pair of osprey roost in a nest in Adams County.

A survey by the Department of Natural Resources found more occupied eagle and osprey nests in the state of Wisconsin than at any time in the last four decades. There were more than 1,500 eagle's nests and 550 osprey nests in the state.

That is just under a 3 percent increase for each bird compared to last year. The increase in eagles has also led to an increase in tourism in some areas of the state, said Dean Edlin, a DNR field ecologist in west central Wisconsin.

"We get large numbers of people along the Mississippi River that come during the winter months to see eagles out here," Edlin said. "Where there are pockets of open water, you'll get large numbers of eagles present. So from the economic side they're definitely a boost to the local economy."

The northwest part of the state is home to the largest population of eagles with a little more than 350. Laura Jaskiewicz, the DNR's research scientist, said carrying capacity of the region may be reached soon and that problem could be exacerbated by eagle's territorial nature.

"They protect that territory so they won't let other eagles nest within that area usually," she said. "So when those areas run out the eagles might start spreading out a little further south, which it's not their ideal habitat, but they will go there."

Eagle nests were found in 69 of 72 counties while osprey nests were only found in 58.

Vilas and Oneida counties had the largest number of eagle nests while Washburn and Oneida counties has the largest number of osprey nests.

Disqus Comments