Bald eagle population soaring to new heights

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin's bald eagle population is soaring to new heights.

According to this year's DNR bald eagle aerial survey, there are now nearly 1,600 active nests around the state, an all-time record.

Whether it's the Brown County Fairgrounds or the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, eagle nests signify an amazing success story.

"To see such a majestic creature go from near extinction to back to full recovery and being quite populated in the area, they're really a neat bird to have around," says Matt Rupnik, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary's senior animal keeper. "Typically on a given day you can see as many as 5, 10, even close to 15 at some points."

Rupnik says wintertime is a great time to catch a glimpse of our nation's symbol in action.

They tend to concentrate around open water.

"They're looking for a food source, which the mouth of the Fox River is a great place for them to go with the fish, as well as the De Pere dam, those are two great spots for them to be hunting," says Rupnik.

We spotted dozens of eagles at the mouth of the Fox River Friday, perched in trees, gliding overhead, and snatching lunch out of the water.

At the 600-acre wildlife sanctuary just a mile away, at least two pair will raise their young next spring, adding to an booming eagle population that back in the 1970's seemed unimaginable.

"From all the challenges they've face, whether from DDT, lead poisoning, all those different things, to be flourishing as well as they are, it's really quite a great story to have them around," says Rupnik.

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