Free Golden Eagle program at Decorah Public Library Jan. 11
Friday, December 27, 2013 3:46 AM
The Decorah Public Library is hosting an indoor and outdoor natural science program focused on Golden Eagles Saturday, Jan. 11.
The program is in the upstairs meeting room of the library.
Presenter is Scott Mehus, education director of the National Eagle Center, Wabasha, Minn.
The program is free and no RSVP is required. Adults and youth accompanied by an adult are welcome to attend.
The program is intended for birders, folks with an interest is surveys and conservation and volunteer citizen scientists of all kinds - either experienced or just having an interest; plus professional naturalists, conservationists and environmental educators.
11 a.m.-Noon - first session
This session focuses on Golden Eagles in Iowa and theUpper Midwest -- their winter ecology and natural history; eagle habits and habitats; data from nine years of Golden Eagle winter surveys; and the Golden Eagle Project.
Noon-1 p.m. - Lunch
The 1 p.m. session and 2 p.m. field trip are requirements for anyone who would like to have their own survey route on count day Saturday, Jan. 18. Individuals who do not attend these two sessions can still help with the survey, but only with a surveyor who has attended the 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. sessions.
1-2 p.m. - second session
Featuring specific tips and tricks and the finer points for identifying Golden Eagles -- especially distinguishing them from similar-looking juvenile Bald Eagles.
2 p.m. to end - third session
This session features a car caravan and field trip for practical on-site experience searching for, identifying and enjoying Golden Eagles in appropriate remote/distinct habitats.
The field trip will go to prime Golden Eagle viewing sites, for the most part along and near the Upper Iowa River, which came within a whisker of being an officially recognized as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Program.
About Scott Mehus
Scott Mehus, education director at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn., has been studying Golden Eagles in the Driftless Area of Minnesota and Wisconsin for nearly 20 years.
Golden Eagles were once thought to be rare or accidental visitors to the Midwest. Mehus questioned this conventional wisdom and began to seek out likely Golden Eagle habitat. He began to find not only plenty of appropriate habitats - wide valleys and blufftop prairies - but also plenty of individuals of this iconic species. Eventually, Mehus organized other birders to get out on the same annual surveying day looking for Golden Eagles to confirm what he was seeing.
Now in its 10th year, the annual wintering Golden Eagle Survey regularly records more than 100 Golden Eagles in the blufflands of southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.
Golden Eagles use the blufflands of the Upper Mississippi River Valley as wintering territory and nest in the wilds of northern Canada. The National Eagle Center offers field trips to learn more about Golden Eagles and opportunities to view them in the wild.
The National Eagle Center is part of an on-going project to better understand the habitat use, winter ecology and natural history of these wintering Golden Eagles.
Using satellite-linked GPS technology to track this species, the project has also discovered some of the migration patterns and far north breeding sites used by these birds.
For more information about the National Eagle Center and the Golden Eagle Project, visit nationaleaglecenter.org.