Annual Tahoe bald eagle count set for 2021
Tahoe Institute for Natural Science to continue tracking protected species
It’s a mid-winter’s day dream for birders. The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) is hosting its annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. TINS took over local coordination of the national tracking operation nine years ago. TINS undertakes this fascinating 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 Tahoe basin, mostly on Tahoe’s lakeshore 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,” says Will Richardson, Executive Director at TINS. “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 is able to 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 protections, 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 Tahoe Bald Eagle Count day or to learn more about TINS can visit https://www.tinsweb.org/midwinter-bald-eagle-count.
Tahoe Institute for Natural Science
Founded in 2010, the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) is a member-supported nonprofit organization providing world-class education and research. TINS provides programs for all ages, from talks and presentations to guided nature outings and field trips. Scholarships and a diversity of free programming aim to make this as inclusive as possible. The organization conducts ongoing biological research in the Tahoe-Sierra region, working collaboratively to help public and private land managers answer questions that inform management decisions regarding wildlife. TINS is working to bring a world-class interpretive nature center and educational facility to the Tahoe area, with the ultimate goal of creating a community that cares for the natural world by fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the natural resources at Lake Tahoe and beyond.
Source: Tahoe Institute for Natural Science
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