A record 90 active bald eagle nests were observed in Nebraska during the 2011 breeding season, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The previous record was 54 in 2007.
The state’s first successful modern bald eagle nest was observed in 1991 in Douglas County. “The increase in the number of nesting bald eagles in the state over the past two decades is nothing short of remarkable,” said Joel Jorgensen, Game and Parks’ nongame bird program manager.
While bald eagles have been increasing as a breeding species since 1991, this year’s boost also is the result of additional surveying effort. “After a couple of years of less focus, we spent a few days surveying some areas that had not been checked for a few years,” Jorgensen said.
Bald eagle nest monitoring is conducted and coordinated by Game and Parks but also relies on cooperating agencies and trained volunteers. Partners include National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and Nebraska Public Power District.
The bald eagle recovery is considered a modern conservation success story. It was listed as a federally and state endangered species in 1978. Populations declined greatly throughout the 20th century primarily because of the use of DDT and similar chemical pesticides. In 1963, there were fewer than 500 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states; today there are more than 10,000 breeding pairs. Following the banning of DDT and many years of intense management, the bald eagle was removed from both the federal and state list of threatened and endangered species.
To see a map of active bald eagle nest locations in Nebraska, visit: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/wildlife/wildlife_species_guide/eagles.asp