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ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
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Wildlife

2007 NH Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey Results

Hello New Hampshire Bald Eagle Watchers:

Here are the summary results of New Hampshire's portion of the 2007 National Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey.

New Hampshire Audubon coordinated this year's mid-winter survey, which took place on Saturday 1/13/2007, except in the Lakes Region, where we held it on Thursday 1/11/2007. This year we had a fantasic turn-out of 91 volunteer participants, well above our long-term average of approximately 50 participants per count. Participants this year encountered unusually mild temperatures, virtually no ice, and little in the way of precipitation or wind.

Survey Day results: This was the 27th consecutive year that we have conducted the survey (since Winter 1980-81), and during that time the wintering bald eagle population in NH has clearly been on the increase. For example, on survey day in 1982, NH Audubon staff and volunteers located a grand total of 2 bald eagles (1 adult, 1 immature*) statewide. In 1997, just 10 years ago, we located 24 bald eagles (15 adults, 9 immatures) on survey day. This year, we located a total of 42 bald eagles (27 adults, 15 immatures) in New Hampshire on survey day, down only slightly from the NH mid-winter survey day record-high of 44 birds seen in 2006.

Count Period results: The official mid-winter "survey day" occurs within a more inclusive two-week "count period," which this year ran from January 3-17, 2007. We keep records on the number of eagles seen during this two-week interval, combining survey day data with any additional individual birds that are distinguishably different and are seen during the week before and after the survey day, to get an overall count period total. For example, during the count period in 1982, we located a grand total of 5 bald eagles (2 adults, 3 immatures) statewide. During the count period in 1997, we located 37 bald eagles (26 adults, 11 immatures). During this year's count period, we found a total of 50 bald eagles (30 adults, 20 immatures), about 10% fewer than our NH mid-winter count period record high of 55 bald eagles seen both in 2005 and in 2006.

So where were all these eagles located during the 2007 mid-winter survey? We located the following numbers of eagles in the state's five major eagle wintering areas during the survey day and the count period:

Androscoggin River - Total of 10 bald eagles seen, including 9 individuals (4 adults, 5 immatures) seen on survey day, plus 1 additional eagle (1 adult) confirmed during the two-week count period.

Connecticut River** - Total of 12 bald eagles seen, including 11 individuals (9 adults, 2 immatures) seen on survey day, plus 1 additional eagle (1 immature) confirmed during the two-week count period.

Great Bay/Coastal - Total of 8 bald eagles seen, including 6 individuals (4 adults, 2 immatures) seen on survey day, plus 2 additional eagles (1 adult, 1 immature) confirmed during the two-week count period.

Lakes Region - Total of 8 bald eagles seen, all 8 individuals (7 adults, 1 immature) seen on survey day, no additional eagles confirmed during the two-week count period.

Merrimack River - Total of 12 bald eagles seen, including 8 individuals (3 adults, 5 immatures) seen on survey day, plus 4 additional eagles (1 adult, 3 immatures) confirmed during the two-week count period.

NOTES ON DEFINITIONS:

* any sub-adult plumage eagle (including almost full adult plumage birds with only minor remnants of their immature plumage) are defined as immatures rather than as adults in the mid-winter survey.

** in order to avoid double-counting, VT and NH "partition" the Connecticut River, with VT credited for all eagles seen upstream from of Wilder Dam, and NH credited for all eagles seen downstream from the dam, regardless of which state's volunteers observe the birds.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!

 NH Audubon and NH Fish & Game will be conducting another eagle count at the end of February to give us a better index of the abundance and distribution of bald eagles in the state near the end of the wintering season. Our 2007 Late Winter Bald Eagle Survey will take place on Saturday, February 24, 2007 (except on Thursday, February 22, 2007 in the Lakes Region). We hope that you will be able to assist us in this effort. We will be contacting you in mid-February to see if you will be able to help.

NH Audubon staff and volunteers monitor wintering eagle abundance and distribution throughout the state each year from December 1 through March 15 as part of a contract with the NH Fish and Game Department's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program.

Thanks once again to everyone who participated in this year's Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey!

Happy birding!

Chris

Chris Martin, Senior Biologist, Conservation Department New Hampshire Audubon, 3 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH 03301 Phone: 603/224-9909 x317; Fax: 603/226-0902; E-mail: cmartin@nhaudubon.org ; Web: www.nhaudubon.org New Hampshire Audubon -- Protecting New Hampshire's natural environment for wildlife and for people.

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