Survey teams in eight different boats hit the waters of Lake Mead at the crack of dawn last week so they could get the annual mid-winter count on the number of bald eagles on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
A press release issued by the National Park Service included this really interesting info on how the count is actually done:
The boats set out on the water going between six to 12 miles-per-hour, scanning the shoreline looking for bald eagles and other raptor species. Bald eagles migrate from the north and can traditionally be spotted at Lake Mead NRA from late-November to March.
And here are the results!
There were 14 more eagles spotted this year compared to last January’s count, but numbers are down from the 178 spotted five years ago. The count may be lower, in part, because crews can’t go as far north in the Overton Arm, due to lower lake elevations …. The teams also tracked sightings of other raptors. Teams spotted three golden eagles, 35 harriers, 18 red tail hawks, nine peregrine falcons, one osprey, one Cooper’s hawk and seven unknown raptors.
Below is an NPS photo taken by Chelsea J. Kennedy of a juvenile bald eagle perched on a cliff at Lake Mead National Recreation Area during the count (January 12th, 2016). Pretty cool!