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.


Workdays Scheduled For Dalton State's Trail System

There will be a workday on the fourth leg of Dalton State’s trail system on April 11 from 8:30 a.m.-noon. Volunteers should meet in the parking lot of the Brown Center. Tools will be provided, but volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. They are open to the public daily. Also, there is another workday scheduled for March 20 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. For more information, ... (click for more)

Largest City In Northern California To Adopt Bird-Friendly Building Guidelines

San José, the capital of Silicon Valley, has become the fourth and largest California city to enact bird-friendly building guidelines. Previously, ordinances were adopted by San Francisco in 2011 and Oakland in 2013, while guidelines were adopted by Sunnyvale in 2014. The implementation of Bird-Safe Building Design Standards in San  José  concludes several months of ... (click for more)

Judge Orders Cortez Sims Tried As Adult After Emotional Testimony At Juvenile Court In Shooting Of 4

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw on Thursday morning ordered that 17-year-old Cortez Sims be tried as an adult in a College Hill Courts shooting that left one woman dead, a toddler paralyzed, and two others wounded. The order was given after emotional testimony from two of the victims in the Jan. 7 early morning mass shooting at 773 W. Main St. Bianca Horton and Marcell "Baby ... (click for more)

County School Bus Driver Alexander Rodriquez Charged With Raping 15-Year-Old Student

A county school bus driver has been charged with raping a 15-year-old student.   Alexander Rodriguez, 34, of Dusty Trail, Ooltewah, was being held on $350,000 bond.   The sheriff's office said it got a report at 9:30 p.m. of a missing juvenile, who was last seen boarding a school bus at Sale Creek High School that afternoon.    ... (click for more)

The Middle Valley Walmart Makes No Sense

There has been quite a bit of hoopla over the proposed new Walmart grocery store in Middle Valley.  Since my family has lived in Middle Valley in a home they built by hand way back in 1954 and said house is now housing generations 3, 4 and 5 I feel that I can give my opinion based on nothing more than life experience.    When this house was built there was a gravel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)