Archive for Sunday, April 11, 1999

BALD EAGLES ON INCREASE

April 11, 1999

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Pratt -- Kansas is doing its part in the comeback of the American bald eagle, according to Ken Brunson, wildlife diversity coordinator for Wildlife and Parks.

The bald eagle, once on its way to extinction due largely to unregulated use of pesticides, is now recovering nicely and expanding southward into its former nesting range.

Kansas currently has at least eight nesting pairs of bald eagles, a situation undreamed of even a dozen years ago.

"Starting in 1989, we've had at least one bald eagle nest in the state annually," Brunson said. More and more Kansans are proclaiming excitement at seeing their first bald eagle in the state."

Bald eagle nests in Kansas are an exciting development of the national

conservation efforts. Nests are currently located at Coffey County Lake, and Norton, Perry and Clinton reservoirs. Two nests have been recorded at Hillsdale Reservoir.

An additional nest is located on the Kansas River in Douglas County, with another in Stafford County. Several other unconfirmed nest sites are currently being investigated.

The Clinton Reservoir nest site is generally considered one of the most successful in the nation, given its annual production of three eaglets for the past several years.

Most nests contain two eggs, and it's not uncommon for only one young eagle survive to flight age. Nationwide, average bald eagle reproduction is about 1.3 eagles per nest.

Bald eagles are shy birds and normally nest far out over open water, making them difficult to approach. However, some nests are built in dryland situations easily disturbed.

Boaters should steer well clear of reservoir nests, and anyone wishing to observe nesting activities should stay several hundred yards away.

Binoculars or a spotting scope are useful in watching eagles at a safe distance.

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