Looking for Occupied Bald Eagle Nests in Southeastern Wisconsin

The following is reprinted from the WDNR Weekly On-line News dated April 10, 2018:

Ecologists ask for public’s help in reporting occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin

MADISON – State ecologists conducting aerial surveys for occupied bald eagle nests this spring are asking for the public’s help in locating nests in southeastern Wisconsin.

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

The discovery last year of a bald eagle nest in Kenosha County leaves Milwaukee and Walworth counties as the only remaining counties with no confirmed active bald eagle nests, though conservation biologists believe it is only a matter of time before the nation’s symbol sets up housekeeping there too.

“We’ve been able to add a number of ‘new’ bald eagle territories in southeastern Wisconsin over the past couple years, thanks in part to crowd-sourcing information from people calling in their observations as well as the ongoing efforts of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas,” says Sharon Fandel, southeastern district ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Fandel already has completed aerial surveys this spring with DNR pilots to look for occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin and has confirmed seven new nesting locations. About half of them came from citizen reports and the other half resulted from honing in on areas with clusters of reported eagle observations from WBBA and other birding reports.

“Now we’re hoping more people will let us know about possible occupied bald eagle nests to check in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee and Walworth counties,” says Fandel.

Aerial surveys are underway across the state now to check known eagle nests to see if they are actively being used by breeding adult eagles. Survey data are used both internally and externally to protect these nest sites when various activities are being planned across the state.

If you observe an active bald eagle nest, with adults incubating eggs or exhibiting other breeding behaviors, you are encouraged to report your sightings in one of these ways:

In other good news, the bald eagle pair confirmed in Kenosha County last year is back. They’ve built an alternative nest on an adjacent landowner’s property closer to a couple larger ponds, Fandel says.

Bald eagle populations have gradually recovered in Wisconsin and nationally as a result of the banning of the pesticide DDT nationally in 1972 (and in Wisconsin in 1969), a prohibition on killing of eagles, improved water quality in lakes and rivers, nest protection, and reintroduction of eagles in some areas. Bald eagles were removed from Wisconsin’s endangered species list in 1997 and from the federal list in 2007. In 2017, Wisconsin aerial surveys confirmed a record 1,590 occupied nests.

2018 Induction Ceremony Cancelled – To Be Rescheduled

Friends,

We just got a call from Sentry. Due to weather, they have cancelled all events/services at the Theater, MUSE, PJ’s and Sentry World for Saturday and Sunday…including our event.

Cancelled: The WCHF Induction Ceremony and Luncheon, tomorrow – April 14th has been cancelled.

We have already contacted key individuals from each of the Induction Groups (see below). 

This has now turned into a major effort just to inform everyone. We will miss many who had not registered. Read more

WCHF Receives C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant

This past year, WCHF received a C.D. Besadny Conservation grant for $1,000 through the Natural Resources Foundation (NWF) of Wisconsin for the purpose of expanding the WCHF website. The actual award was delivered in person to the WCHF Board at their annual meeting at the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center on November 4, 2018 by NWF Board member Bill Lunney.

For over thirty years NWF has worked to preserve our state’s most vulnerable public resources – our land, our water, our endangered species as well as providing conservation education to thousands.

In making the presentation, Bill said “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction” as well as physical and mental health. So we are all in this together.”

He concluded with, “The Natural Resources Foundation is pleased to present the Besadny grant award to the Conservation Hall of Fame. The grant to the Hall of Fame will help with website design and upgrades. The committee felt its importance mirrors the evolving methods of getting one’s message across many venues and commended the Board and staff for taking those steps. It will help the Hall of Fame do its important work even more effectively by getting the message out to larger more diverse audiences.

We look forward to working closely with the Hall of Fame to preserve Wisconsin’s Conservation Legacy for the future.”

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a new voting member of WCHF and on the WCHF Board of Directors.

Shown above are (left to right) Ruth Oppedahl, NRF Executive Director and WCHF Director; Bill Lunney, NRF Board Member and Besadny Grants committee; Donna VanBuecken, WCHF Vice President and grant writer; Joe Passineau, WCHF President and Diane Lueck, past-Chair NRF Board of Directors. Photo by Donna VanBuecken

Thank you Natural Resources Foundation. Congratulations to WCHF.

George H Gard Jr Passes

George H Gard Jr drew all the WCHF Gallery plaque art until he retired. He would create pen-and-ink drawing of the inductee from a photo on a piece of paper. Then WCHF Executive Secretary Bill Horvath would take it to Point Trophy to burn the image onto the plaque using a laser.

George H Gard Jr, the artist who drew the portraits for the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame plaques for many years on October 4, 2016. He had a rich and interesting life, including a long stint with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

WCHF Governor Bill Berry wrote: “George was a quiet and unassuming man with many talents. His home’s walls were covered with his artwork.” Read his obituary here.

New Book About Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom

The Wisconsin Historical Society Press has announced the publication of a new book entitled Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom: Wildlife Conservation Pioneers.

“Learn how the husband and wife team of Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom worked to save the greater prairie chicken from extinction in this installment of the Badger Biographies series. The Hamerstroms dedicated their lives to understanding and preserving wildlife. As students of the famous Wisconsin naturalist Aldo Leopold, they helped establish new ways for humans to think about habitat conservation. Together, Fran and Frederick spent over thirty years mentoring many future scientists and working to save the greater prairie chicken, and other animals, from extinction.”

For more information or to purchase.