By Jack Spaulding
Eagles in Indiana are ranking high as a modern day wildlife success story. Once absent from the Hoosier skies, the magnificent birds are now making a solid recovery on their own.
From 1985 to 1989, 73 Alaskan and Wisconsin eagle chicks were raised by the Indiana DNR in artificial nests at Monroe Lake and released into the wild. With the eagle chick count conducted by DNR biologists, the number of young birds successfully hatched this year stands at 91. The count established a new nesting record and is putting the American bald eagle on track for repatriation in our state.
Making the count was not an easy task. Department of Natural Resources biologist John Castrale and DNR pilot Dennis Rumley spent seven workdays in a helicopter in the spring swooping down Hoosier rivers and around Indiana’s reservoirs searching for and checking eagle nests. Simply finding birds and locating nests is a daunting task.
At the end of seven days of aerial antics and survey checks, the biologists turned up an Indiana-record of 68 active nests. The nests fledged 91 new Hoosier bald eagles. Castrale and Rumley counted 62 active nests in 2005.
Thanks to the initial importation of eagle chicks to Indiana more than a third of Indiana counties now have eagle nests. From 1985 to 1989, 73 Alaskan and Wisconsin eagle chicks were raised by the Indiana DNR in artificial nests at Monroe Lake and released into the wild. Indiana’s eagle nesting range continues to expand from southern and southwestern Indiana into the northeastern and eastern parts of the state.
Three production check flights in May and June found 88 young eagles near fledging age, with single birds present at 17 nests, twins at 25 nests, and triplets at seven nests.
Indiana eagle productivity figures were average this year, with nest success at 72 percent, 1.3 young per nest attempt, and 1.8 young per successful nest. Winds destroyed nests or nest trees in at least four instances.
The first successful Indiana bald eagle nests of the 20th century were at Lake Monroe and Cagles Mill Lake in 1991. Before Indiana’s reintroduction project, bald eagles last nested in the northwest corner of the State in 1897.
Hoosiers are asked to remember our wild heritage in Indiana come tax time. Support for Indiana’s endangered wildlife comes from voluntary state income tax checkoff donations.
Tech glitch delayed applications
Because of technical problems, the DNR’s put-and-take pheasant hunt online registration scheduled to open on September 1 was delayed until September 6.
Hunters who attempted to register during this period are being urged to go online and schedule their fall put-and-take hunts.
Pheasants will be released for put-and-take hunting November 18-26 on Atterbury, Glendale, Pigeon River (west of SR 3), Tri-County, Willow Slough and Winamac Fish and Wildlife areas and Roush Lake.
The cost for put-and-take hunts is $15 per person and the bag limit is two birds. Hunters will be able to reserve their put/take pheasant hunts online until noon on Nov. 25 at: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/
Hunters will be able to select the date, property, and property location for their hunts. Hunting reservations will be available until noon on the day prior to the hunt date. Hunts will not be available first-come, first-served at the property, as in past years.
This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.