DNR Surveys Show Bald Eagle Nesting Soaring In Georgia

Monday, April 1, 2013
Bald eagle populations are climbing in Georgia.

According to preliminary results, Georgia Department of Natural Resources aerial surveys in January and March documented 166 occupied nesting territories, 124 successful nests and 185 young fledged.

Those totals topped last year’s 163 nesting territories and 121 successful nests, while dropping slightly from 199 eaglets fledged. In 2011, there were 144 territories, 113 nests and 178 eaglets.

The number of bald eagle nests in Georgia has increased steadily, underscoring the rebound of our national bird from near-extinction through much of its range 40 years ago. Nests numbered in the single digits in Georgia when survey leader Jim Ozier started searching for them more than two decades ago.

This comeback was powered in part by Georgians who support the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund through their state income tax returns.  As this year’s tax deadline nears, those who haven’t filed are encouraged to contribute to the fund through the “Give Wildlife a Chance” state income tax checkoff.

Making contributions large or small through the checkoff – line 26 on Form 500 or line 10 on Form 500EZ – benefits the more than 1,000 Georgia plant and animal species listed as species of conservation concern, including bald eagles.

The large nests of these iconic raptors are showing up in new areas, including Jasper and Carroll counties this year, and more frequently in some coastal counties, such as Chatham, where Mr. Ozier documented six new nests for a county total of 25.

“It’s impressive. They’re really filling in the gaps there,” said Mr. Ozier, a Nongame Conservation Section program manager with the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division.

Although the number of young eagles statewide fell this year, Mr. Ozier said that change is not significant and fluctuations are expected.

The public is encouraged to let Mr. Ozier know about eagle nests they see, reporting them online (www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/eaglenest) or by phone (478 994-1438). These reports often lead to nests not monitored before. DNR works with landowners to help protect eagle nests on their property.

Bald eagles are no longer listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, but they are protected by federal and state law.

Eagle surveys are part the DNR Nongame Section’s mission to conserve nongame wildlife – native animals not legally hunted or fished for – and native plants and natural habitats. The section receives no state appropriations for this work. The Wildlife Conservation Fund checkoff provides significant support, accounting for 12 percent of fund revenues in fiscal year 2012.

All checkoff contributions help. Georgians can deduct contributions from refunds or add them to payments. They can also give when filing electronically or through a tax preparer. Go to www.georgiawildlife.com/TaxCheckoff for details. Please consult a tax professional about deducting contributions.



Emerging Disease Further Jeopardizes North American Frogs

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.    Frogs and salamanders are currently among the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. The two most common frog diseases, chytridiomycosis and ranavirus ... (click for more)

Forest Loss Threatens Unique Wetlands

Some of the most important wetlands in the southeastern U.S. have experienced decades of degradation and now face an uncertain future. In a new study published in the journal  Wetlands , ecologists at the University of the South show how an extensive network of small forested wetlands on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia are being threatened by loss ... (click for more)

Jury Hears About Incident Behind Food Lion That Authorities Say Led To Triple Murders In Lookout Valley

A Criminal Court jury on Thursday was told about an incident behind the Food Lion on Brown's Ferry Road that authorities say was the motive for an April 9, 2014, massacre at a Lookout Valley trailer park. Brandon Jackson said the incident five days earlier involved Derek Morse, who is standing trial on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Apartment Building Fire

More than a dozen people were forced from their homes early Thursday morning when fire broke out in their apartment building.   The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  2:58 a.m.  and responded to Rainbow Creek Apartments at  7604 Standifer Gap Road  with six fire companies. Seeing a significant amount of fire upon arrival, a ... (click for more)

Why The Ed Johnson Memorial Matters To Me, A Libertarian

I have seen a lot of responses to the question of whether or not our city and county should financially support the Ed Johnson Memorial at the Walnut Street bridge. Some fully support government pitching in and some say that private individuals and civic organizations should pitch in. Both are correct.  Our city has become a very sought after place to live. From our hometown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: McQueen & Her TVAAS

If I am reading my Ouija Board right, I suspect the Hamilton County School Board will vote to allow a controversial “partnership” to be formed with the state Board of Education tonight at its monthly meeting. State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has said she will demand the one-sided partnership to take over the operation of five at-risk schools in Hamilton County and, if ... (click for more)