Bald Eagle Population Inventory and Monitoring

OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE OF PROJECT:

The purpose of eagle nest monitoring and inventory is to establish occupancy information for recorded and unrecorded territories located within areas scheduled for management planning and projects. With the delisting of eagle from threatened status, the species is now a Regional Forester's Sensitive Species (RFSS) on the Superior NF. For at least 5 years post-delisting, it is important to monitor populations and breeding success to ensure that eagles can be considered successfully recovered. For budgetary reasons neither the Superior NF nor the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were able to fully implement the 5 year survey scheduled for this year.

METHODS OR TECHNIQUES USED:

Biologists and technicians survey known nests and look for new nests within project areas. These surveys are done annually. However, specific survey areas may vary from year to year based on the location of a specific project area. The primary method is to fly in a fixed wing aircraft, locate and identify nests and record observations on breeding pair presence or absence, nest condition, habitat, and evidence of incubation or reporduction. Flights are generally conducted during the incubation period for eagles (April/May) to determine occupancy. When able, we conduct a second survey in June to count young and monitor reproduction. We also follow up on reports from other resource personnel in the field and the public.

REALIZED/EXPECTED RESULTS:

There are several hundred known bald eagle and osprey nests on the forest that we monitor on a long-term basis. Our understanding of current bald eagle populations and breeding success in Minnesota and on the Superior NF comes primarily from the five-year statewide bald eagle surveyed, last conducted in 2005. The results of project level surveys is to protect and manage habitat for eagles within our vegetation management projects. In 2010 we checked nests within current vegetation management projects and prescribed burn units as well as within the Lake Superior watershed which was funded primarily by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) dollars.

AGREEMENT TYPE(S):

Participating

PRIMARY PARTNER LIST:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources , USDI Fish and Wildlife Service

PHOTOGRAPHS:

USFS Beaver used to conduct surveys

 

Figure 1: USFS Beaver used to conduct surveys
 

Aerial view of bald eagle on nest

 

Figure 2: Aerial view of bald eagle on nest
 


THIS PROJECT ALSO BENEFITED:

Fisheries , NatureWatch , Wildlife

DESCRIPTION OF BENEFITS TO OTHER PROGRAM(S):

Eagles are an indicator, in part, of the need for healthy aquatic ecosystems because fish are an important part of their breeding season diet. Tracking on eagles is important to the public since it is a species emblematic of the northwoods and a favorite for wildlife viewing.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5209907