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Bald eagle nests soar to new heights in Wisconsin

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Posted at 2:07 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 15:07:47-05

MADISON — Milwaukee County is the lone county in Wisconsin without a known active bald eagle nest, but the state’s bald eagle population continues to rise, according to the 2018 Wisconsin Bald Eagle Survey.

Walworth County confirmed its first documented nest in at least 50 years.

"2018 was another great year for the bald eagles' remarkable comeback in Wisconsin," Laura Jaskiewicz, the Department of Natural Resources research scientist who coordinates the statewide aerial survey effort, said in a news release. "The number of nests is still increasing throughout the state and we now have them documented in 71 of 72 counties."

The heavily developed nature of Milwaukee County limits the available nesting habitat.

"2018 was another great year for the bald eagles' remarkable comeback in Wisconsin." — Laura Jaskiewicz, Department of Natural Resources research scientist

"That being said, it's certainly not impossible. In areas like the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota, bald eagles are doing quite well and the Minnesota DNR has documented dozens of active nesting territories," Sharon Fandel, a DNR district ecologist with the Natural Heritage Conservation program, said in the news release.

Bald eagles were removed from the state’s endangered species list in 1997 and the federal list in 2007.

The 2018 survey found 1,695 bald eagle nests occupied by breeding adults, an increase of 105 nests from 2017, the DNR said.

That is a 6.6 percent increase and more than 16 times as many nests found in the first detailed surveys in 1974, when bald eagles were listed as state and federally endangered species and 108 nests were documented.