In January I participated in the Annual Golden Eagle Survey, which is coordinated through the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN. Each year we count the golden eagles that winter in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. This is my third year doing the survey so I contemplated asking for my own route but I was not sure that my car could handle the back roads and hills in the area, especially if the weather was not cooperative.
So I headed down to White Water State Park to join the group that was counting down there. When I arrived I found that there were about 20 cars, that were broken into two groups, that were surveying the park area. Since I thought that there were more then enough people to cover the park, in 2009 we had 4 or 5 cars, I decided to work some of the back roads between the park and Wabasha on my own, the weather was very cooperative this year.
While traveling the back roads I found a dozen bald eagles, one of which was an immature, and three red-tailed hawks but unfortunately no golden eagles. So I stopped back at the Eagle Center so I could get a shot of Don, the education golden eagle at the center. This year, the 6th year of the count, there were over 130 volunteers and 93 golden eagles were counted. Most of the eagles were in Buffalo County in Wisconsin where 25 volunteers covered 15 routes and counted 60 golden eagles. Next year I think that I will have to see if I can get a route in Buffalo County.