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Energy & Environment

Vilas, Oneida Counties Near Top For Eagle, Osprey Nests

Courtesy: Wisconsin DNR

The D-N-R says observers counted a record 15-hundred-four occupied eagle nests throughout the Badger State this past spring.

Eagles and other raptors were close to extinction as recently as the 1970s before the pesticide D-D-T was banned, and new federal and state laws protected bald eagles. Aerial surveys found 1,504 occupied eagle nests, 39 more nests than the previous year and compared to 108 in 1973. Osprey nests also were found in record numbers: 558 occupied , up from 542 in 2014. Ospreys were found in 58 of 72 counties.

DNR research scientist Laura Jaskiewicz, says the Northwoods has a large number of the nests...

".....Vilas and Oneida(counties) have some of the highest populations of eagles in the state due to the concentration of shallower lakes where they are able to hunt a little better...."

Jaskiewicz says eagles like to nest in tall pines above the canopy of other trees. Osprey populations in Wisconsin declined dramatically from the 1950s to early 1970s in response to pesticides and the loss of suitable nest habitat - tall trees or snags - as lake shorelines were developed and trees were removed. Now, 75 percent of Wisconsin osprey nests are built on artificial platforms erected on utility poles, cell phone towers and other tall structures.

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