This past weekend I ran down to the National Eagle Center to attend an informal class on golden eagles. The purpose of the class was to prepare people for the 4th Annual Golden Eagle Survey which will be held in south eastern Minnesota this coming weekend. There is a small population of golden eagles which winter in the Mississippi River Valley in south eastern Minnesota and south western Wisconsin. It is believed that this population of golden eagles has a summer range up in Ontario, Canada. At least 118 of golden eagles migrated past Duluth, MN in the fall of 2007, according to counts taken at Hawk Ridge, but not many of these birds are seen at raptor survey points directly south of Minnesota. So it is possible that there may be up to 100 birds or so wintering in the Mississippi River Valley. Last year 41 eagles were spotted on the survey day and a total of 51 were spotted for the week.
The training was done by Scott Mehus who is an employee of the National Eagle Center. Scott began the survey on his own and has been gaining more help and support each year so that we can try and get accurate information on the goldens wintering here. During the training we did take a road trip out to golden eagle habitat but unfortunately we did not spot any. We did however get a quick peak at the golden eagle that just arrived at the National Eagle Center.
I am hoping to get out on the survey this weekend and help out, despite the weather which they are forecasting to only reach -5 for a high on Saturday.