The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will launch its annual Bald Eagle mid-winter survey next month. That count of individual eagles will be followed, later in the spring, by volunteers counting eagle nests.
DNR Wildlife Biologist Stephanie Shephard says Iowa has 363 eagle nesting territories. “A big concentration of those are in northeast Iowa — particularly along the Mississippi and the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge,” Shephard says. “I think Allamakee County alone has something over a hundred nests.”
Iowa’s eagle population is growing. “We only have three counties that don’t have a recorded Bald Eagle territory. So, if you are in Osceola, Union, or Monroe County, keep a look out for eagle nests and report them. Those are the last three counties that we don’t have records in,” Shephard says.
The DNR’s mid-winter survey counted some 2,800 eagles last year. The highest count in a single year was 4,500. Shepard says moderately cold weather drives more eagles into Iowa’s open water areas.
Shephard made her comments as a guest on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa” program.