An expert says far fewer bald eagles are spending the winter along an 80-mile stretch of the Mississippi River between eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Wildlife biologist and consultant Kelly McKay says he counted 912 eagles between Clinton, Iowa and Keithsburg, Illinois, during this year’s mid-winter count. By contrast, McKay says he counted nearly 25-hundred per year between the years 2000 and 2009.
The Hampton ornithologist says he’s also concerned that the number of immature or young bald eagles was lower this year. Over the last 20 years, McKay says the percentage of immature eagles he’s counted averaged 38-percent. This year it was only 25-percent.