Feb 19, 2018 Updated Feb 20, 2018
Philadelphia’s not the only place where eagles are soaring.
A record 209 active bald eagle nests were estimated in Nebraska in 2017 by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The total exceeds 2016’s record of 162 and represents a 56 percent increase. That continues an upswing in the state’s nesting eagle population over the past few years.
If you think you’ve been seeing more bald eagles around, you’re right. The magnificent predator has gone from being virtually nonexistent as a breeding species in the state to becoming relatively common in less than a quarter century. In 1991, Nebraska recorded its first successful bald eagle nest in about 100 years. By 2007, the number of nests had grown to 54 active nests.
Bald eagles were on federal and state endangered species lists as late as 2007 and 2008, respectively. Eagles have now become relatively numerous, according to Joel Jorgensen, Nebraska Game and Parks’ non-game bird program manager. The large number of nests provided impetus for the Commission to adjust its survey methods last year in order to reduce its resource commitment and improve efficiency. The Commission devised an innovative approach, in which biologists surveyed only a proportion of known nests and then extracted information from its extensive database, as well as other sources, to generate a reliable estimate for 2017.