Volunteers sought for bald eagle survey at Lake Tahoe
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science is hosting its annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 and is seeking volunteers.
TINS took over local coordination of the national tracking operation nine years ago. The institute undertakes this effort as part of a nationwide, single-day census of our country’s bald eagle populations. Spotters are stationed at 26 vantage points throughout the Lake Tahoe basin, mostly on beaches, to get an accurate snapshot of eagle numbers.
“Because Lake Tahoe maintains open water throughout the winter, it’s a prime feeding spot for the eagles,” said Will Richardson, executive director at TINS in press release. “We usually have pretty good luck, and most stations will see at least one eagle fly by at some point. The goal is just to keep an eye on the population and make sure the protection measures in place are working.”
The spotters take careful notes on the age, time and direction of travel of every eagle seen. When the data is compiled, TINS can plot the movements of each individual bird and get an accurate count for the day.
The national symbol of America became a protected species in 1940, but populations continued to decline dramatically with the introduction of the insecticide DDT. Tahoe’s count began in 1979, and for the first few years there may have been only two or three bald eagles per year. Thanks to protection, eagle numbers at Tahoe started to rise, peaking at 27 in 2017. In recent years, counts have averaged in the low 20s.
Local residents interested in participating in the event or to learn more about TINS, visit https://www.tinsweb.org/midwinter-bald-eagle-count.
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