Wildlife officials seeking help in documenting eagles’ nests

Wildlife officials seeking help in documenting eagles’ nests

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:00 pm

A new comprehensive eagle nest survey is being conducted across the state, and state wildlife officials need some help.
It’s been several years since a comprehensive eagle nest survey has been conducted in Tennessee.    American Bald Eagles once nested across the nation but almost disappeared in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly due to DDT, according to regional naturalist David Haggard.
In 1954, there were about 15 known eagle nests in the Reelfoot Lake area but, by 1961, only one remained.
That lone eagle’s nest was the last known successful nest in Tennessee until 1983, according to Haggard.
In 1983 a pair of eagles built a nest at Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge east of Kentucky Lake.
“We did not have a successful nest at Reelfoot until 1987,” Haggard said.
“Last spring we had about 15 nests in the Reelfoot area and several more in the surrounding area,” he said.
The statewide nesting population was estimated at more than 150 nests, a significant increase in only 25 years.
“We feel there are many nests that have not been documented, and we are requesting information on possible nest locations,” Haggard said. “If anyone knows where a nest is located, especially one we may not know about, we would like to know the location.”
He said the wildlife staff at Reelfoot Lake is constantly monitoring the lake’s eagle population, but he said they know there are nests on Reelfoot Lake that we have not documented. He added there are certainly undocumented eagle nests that exist along the Mississippi River as well as other rivers and lakes across West Tennessee.
That’s where state wildlife officials need help.
“The more info you can give on the location, the better,” Haggard said. “For instance, about 500 yards east of Allen Opening on Reelfoot Lake tells me where to look, or on the Mississippi River a half-mile north of the old ferry landing at Tiptonville. If you have just observed an eagle busy carrying sticks in one direction, that tells us they are building a nest in that area.”
The eagle nest survey is a statewide survey, so any nest information is being requested.
Information can be e-mailed to Haggard at David.Haggard@tn.gov or can be called in to (731) 253-9652. Callers are encouraged to leave a description and a call back number.
“The American Bald Eagle has made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction and has been one of the few animals ever de-listed from the endangered species act, and we are trying to document how well they are doing in the Volunteer State,” Haggard said.
Published in The Messenger 2.17.11

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