APPLE RIVER, IL – The Eagle Nature Foundation (ENF) is seeking volunteers to help with its 59th Annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Count to be conducted on January 26th and 27th, 2019. This annual bald eagle count is being conducted throughout the Midwest from Northern Minnesota to Louisiana. To elim-inate duplication the count is actually a three hour count on Saturday, with Sunday being used only if weather, or health, does not allow a person or organization to count the bald eagles in their own locality on the official count day. At least 90 percent of the eagles will be counted before 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 26th. Each year some counters start the day by counting the bald eagles that may be seen leaving their night-time roosts, while it is still so dark that the birds are only silhouettes flying overhead. Some con-servation organizations use teams to count the bald eagles as a project for their club. Counters have used cars, boats and airplanes to count the bald eagles during past counts. This annual count was started and coordinated for 20 years by the late Elton Fawks from Moline, Illinois. Terrence Ingram, President of ENF, from Apple River, has been the coordinator of the count for the past 38 years. Mr. Ingram states, “This count has been the most important bald eagle count in the nation for many, many years. It was the results of this count in the early 1960’s that truly documented the decline of the bald eagle in the nation. Now this count is the only accurate record of how our eagles are reproducing in the Midwest. Since the USFW removed the bald eagle from the Endangered Species List in 2007, there has been no funding for agencies to be involved in monitoring the bald eagle’s reproduction. Most all of their reproduction records are just estimates, or extrapolations, of how many young have been raised. This count helps document what percentage of these young birds have survived.” The last few years have documented a low percentage of immatures being seen during this count. This is actually lower than the same low percentage that the count had recorded in the mid to late 1960’s. In fact, the five year average of immatures in the late 1960’s was 28.5 percent, while the last five year average was only 27.6 percent. The cause for this low percentage of documented immatures on this count is unknown and any suggestions about a cause have been purely speculative. It could be that the immatures are living somewhere else, or something could actually be affecting their survival: such as starvation; poisoning by chemicals, such as Roundup or Neonicitinoids; or a disease, such as West Nile Virus; or many of the young may be getting killed by vehicle collisions or wind turbines. Organizations and volunteers for this count are needed all across the Midwest. ENF would like to document the bald eagles that may be found all along the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana, as well as along the Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Rock, Pecatonica, Des Moines, Iowa, Skunk, Cedar, Turkey, Maquoketa and Wisconsin Rivers, as well as many of the historic inland wintering areas, which the bald eagle still uses. Anyone interested in helping with this research to document our changing bald eagle population by counting the bald eagles in their own area on January 26th or 27th, should contact Mr. Ingram at ENF, 300 East Hickory Street, Apple River, Illinois 61001 or phone 815-594-2306 to get the necessary count forms and to receive their area assignment. Contacting Mr. Ingram and getting your area assigned must be done in advance of the count date, January 26th.

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