Wisconsin bald eagle population soars to new heights
A record number of bald eagles are calling Wisconsin home.
Each year, the DNR conducts an aerial survey to determine the number of occupied bald eagle nests in Wisconsin.
The results show a promising trend.
"Every year we find more and more eagles nests," says Joe Henry, DNR Upper Lake Michigan Ecologist.
2018 is in the books as another record year with 1,695 eagle nests around the state.
That's up an astounding 105 nests from the previous record set the year before.
The majority of the new nests are in southern Wisconsin.
"What that tells us is there's more opportunities for eagles to find available trees in the south, and they're also becoming more adaptable to humans and the disturbance that people bring," says Henry.
Aside from Milwaukee County, bald eagles are now nesting in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
More eagles, though, mean more of them become sick or injured.
"We definitely saw an increase this past year in 2018, We had a little over 20 eagles that came into our rehab center. A lot of different things, injuries, young ones, hit by cars, ill, lead poisoning, a lot of different things we saw. We were lucky to have an 80 percent release rate this year with them," says Lori Bankson, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Curator of Animals.
Bankson says the public is key in spotting eagles that need care, and the DNR encourages anyone who spots a nest to let them know in order to continue tracking their incredible success story.
"Knowing their history, and knowing how hard everybody has worked together in our community to bring these eagles back from the brink, it just shows how if we all work together and we all care about our environment these animals make an impact, they can come back," says Bankson.