LAFAYETTE COUNTY – Three new eagle nests were found in Lafayette County according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The Wisconsin DNR has been collecting data on eagle and osprey nests in the area since 1973. At that time there were very few nests. The DNR credits their comeback with the national ban on the pesticide, added protections under federal and state endangered species laws, river cleanups, citizen donations and monitoring by DNR’s national heritage conservation staff and partners.
In the spring of 2019, there were 1684 eagle and 530 osprey nests. Seventy-one of the 72 counties had eagle nests and 60 of the 72 had osprey. That is an increase of 11 percent from 2018.
In 2019, Lafayette County had 5 confirmed eagle nests and zero osprey. In 2020 there were 3 new nests found in the county: one by the Grant County line near Cuba City, one south of South Wayne and another on the border with Green County near Argyle. Current nests are located east and north of Darlington, one in Fayette, one near Blanchardville and one in northern willow springs on the border of Iowa and Lafayette County.
The best time to see bald eagles is in the morning from 8-11 a.m. The DNR asks people to stay in their cars when they are in close proximity and do not venture too close so they will fly off.
The Great River Road map shows areas of river crossings and Mississippi locks and dams where people can safely pull off and watch for eagle activity. That map can be downloaded on the DNR website or at the Wisconsin Great River Road at wigrr.com. Make sure to check out their birding maps that show the best spots to stop and watch.
You can join bald eagle watching events like the one on Feb. 20 for the Bald Eagle Watching Days in the Sauk Prairie area, which will be virtual. You can learn more by going to the DNR website or the ferrybluffeaglecouncil.org.
You can help monitor nests from the ground in southern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley with Madison Audubon Society’s and 1000 Island Environmental Center through the Bald Eagle Nest watch program. Both the Fox Valley and southern Wisconsin programs are now full for the 2021 season.
If there is still more you want to do, you can adopt an eagle nest. You will receive an adoption certificate with the name of your choice, certifying that you have adopted an eagle nest in the state of Wisconsin and an aerial photo showing the location of your eagle nest. Your contribution will help the DNR conduct aerial surveys to locate nest sites, rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned eagles, analyze feather, egg and blood samples, work with landowners to protect and manage nest trees and winter roost sites, and promote awareness of bald eagles. You can send donations to Adopt and Eagle Nest Program, Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501.