I recently participated in the Bureau Of Land Management’s Mid-Winter Eagle Survey. I’ve been survying my particular route for 4 years now and am fairly familiar with the favorite roosting sites. We saw 18 total birds, mostly balds and two goldens. These numbers are down from the counts the previous two years. This winter has been much more mild so the river wasn’t frozen over. There’s also been little snow cover so I’m thinking the birds are more spread out away from the river. The lack of snow and more open water means there are more places the birds can forage.
We also saw 3 Trumpeter Swans, which was very exciting! They are such huge, elegant birds. We saw a family unit – two parents and a young of the year which was grayer in color than its blinding white parents. These are the largest of our waterfowl – weighing in at 35 lbs. and having a wingspan of over 7′!
Activity: Eagles and Swans are some of our largest birds. Make a chart to compare wingspans of various birds. Use a long sheet of newsprint and draw an outline of the largest bird you’re using. Research the sizes of other birds, such as great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, osprey, turkey, grouse, seagull, magpie, cardinal, etc. Place their outlines inside the outline of your largest bird. Have children stand with their noses on the centerline of the poster and then stretch out their arms. They can compare their “wingspan” with the bird species!