Bald eagles up in North Dakota survey

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota wildlife officials say the number of bald eagles observed in early January along a stretch of the Missouri River was up significantly from last year and slightly above average.

The Game and Fish Department says 44 eagles were counted between Bismarck and Garrison Dam. That's up from 12 in last year's survey.

Nongame biologist Patrick Isakson says the higher number this year is a surprise, because waterfowl numbers along the Missouri are low. The number of bald eagles that winter in the state generally depends on the amount of open water and the availability of prey — fish and waterfowl.

The midwinter aerial survey is conducted nationwide to estimate the number of bald eagles wintering in the lower 48 states.