Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



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Dinan, "Survey of Bald and Golden Eagles in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1997) 65(1).


Copyrigh 1997, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


John Dinan, Nongame Bird Program Manager, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 2200 N. 33rd st., P.O. Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370 (phone: 402/471-0641; Fax: 402/471-5528), supplied the results of the 1997 (January 1-15) Bald and Golden Eagle surveys, with six organizations and twelve individuals participating.

Conditions for 1997 survey: Temperatures ranged from 8 to 35°F. The Niobrara River had 50-100% ice cover except the upper portion, which was mostly open. The unchannelized portion of the Missouri River was 90-100% ice-covered, but the channelized portion was open and was carrying floating ice below Tekamah. The Platte River had 50-90% ice cover, the North Platte River was mostly open, and ice cover on the South Platte River was highly variable (0-90%). The Loup River was 90-95% ice-covered. Lakes and reservoirs were 70-100 % ice-covered except for Lake McConaughy, which had 40% ice cover.

Golden Eagles: There were 29 Golden Eagle sightings in Nebraska during the 1997 survey, distributed as follows: North Platte River (11): Republican River (2); sidney (1); and in the following counties: Cherry (1); Dawes (4); Dundy (1); Garden (1); Rock (1); Scottsbluff (1); Sheridan (1); sioux (3); Wheeler (2).

Bald Eagles: The 1997 survey included 736 adults, 293 immatures, and 1 of unknown age. The total of 1030 Bald Eagles is a 43% increase over the 1996 count of 719, a 39% increase over the 1980-96 statewide average of 743, and an 11% increase over the previous five-year average of 924. The frequency of immature individuals among age-identified birds was 28%, representing a 6% increase over the previous 10-year average. Bald Eagle numbers were reported to the National wildlife Federation for four standardized reporting segments. Compared to the 1980-1996 average, Bald Eagle use was up 150% for the North Platte River, Keystone to Lewellen, including Lake McConaughy and Ogallala; up 10% for the North and south Platte Rivers, Maxwell to the Lincoln/Keith County line, including Sutherland Reservoir; up 159 % for the Republican River, Alma to Naponee, including Harlan Co. Reservoir; and down 38% for the Platte River, Darr to Elm Creek area, including Johnson and Elwood Reservoirs.