Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagles' Nests No Longer a Rare Sight in Georgia; DNR Survey Finds 210 of Them in the State, Mostly near Coast

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Eagles' Nests No Longer a Rare Sight in Georgia; DNR Survey Finds 210 of Them in the State, Mostly near Coast

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | The 210 bald eagle nests found in Georgia in a winter survey are the most ever and represent a 12 percent increase over last year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said.

The DNR's Nongame Conservation Section counted the 210 nests in an aerial survey in January and March. In those occupied nesting territories, the DNR found 166 successful nests and 270 young eaglets, all records.

Five of the six leading counties are along the coast with Chatham at the top with two dozen nests, followed by Camden with 12, Glynn and McIntosh with 11 each and Liberty with 10. The county with the second-highest number of nests is Decatur, in the southwest corner of the state, where the Lake Seminole reservoir sits at the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers.

Jim Ozier, a program manager in the nongame section, began monitoring bald eagle nesting nearly 30 years ago when nests numbered in the single digits.

The survey showed that 62 of Georgia's 159 counties had active nests. That's two more than in 2014.

Ozier credits the recovery to coordinated conservation efforts and public contributions toward those efforts.

"Georgia's nesting bald eagle population continues its impressive expansion, exemplifying conservation success through agency cooperation and public support,'' Ozier said in a release. "And eagles are doing their part by adaptively co-existing with people in many instances."

That's true of Glynn County where eagles have been known to hang out over a St. Simons Island golf course and perch on tall power poles along the busy causeways to St. Simons and Jekyll Island.

"They don't seem to care about people,'' said Harriet Robinson of the Coastal Georgia Audubon Society. "It's amazing how birds adapt to whatever they need to to live."

Coastal Audubon hosts a number of birding trips but none just to spot eagles because the members typically like to see rare birds and eagles aren't that rare anymore, Robinson said.

"They love it when they find a bird that doesn't belong here,'' one outside its normal range or one that has been blown off course, Robinson said. …

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