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National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA News Release
For Immediate Release: Jan. 15, 2016
Release No.: 2016-04
113 BALD EAGLES COUNTED DURING LAKE MEAD'S MIDWINTER SURVEY
By Chelsea J. Kennedy
Public Affairs Specialist
BOULDER CITY, Nevada –Survey teams set out at dawn on eight different boats throughout Lake Mead National Recreation Area Jan. 12 to survey the local bald eagle population on lakes Mead and Mohave.
The National Park Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management and volunteers all joined forces for the survey in the park.
The survey was held as part of national effort to track populations and trend counts for bald eagles. The nationwide survey has been tracking bald eagles since 1979, and only around eight percent of the surveys conducted nationally are water based.
"I really like that this survey gets so many people and organizations to work together," said Julia Muller, Lake Mead NRA fishery biologist, who coordinated this year's survey for Lake Mead. "I'm a fish biologist so my expertise is in fisheries, so I really appreciate the fact that I get to at least once a year jump into a different field and be an ornithologist for a day."
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.
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 bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species Aug. 9, 2007. The bald eagle continues to flourish across the nation.
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.
Theresa Thom, an aquatic ecologist at Lake Mead NRA, who was the crew lead for the Boulder Basin route, said that the eagle survey was an amazing experience.
"We had the opportunity to be on Lake Mead on a sunny and calm day. The most exciting thing was to be part of a larger team across the park, recording data on eagles and other raptors, as well as being part of a nationwide effort," she said. "It was an amazing day;it really made me feel like part of the Lake Mead team."