|Bald Eagle at Bantam Lake with nesting material. Photo by Leo Kulinski, Jr.|
An annual count coordinated throughout North America is the Mid-Winter Eagle Count. This count is coordinated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as various state and local agencies. Observers conduct the count at waterbodies and watercourses while carefully scanning the shorelines for perched birds and looking skyward for gliding eagles. This year's count was conducted on Saturday 14 January 2017. We counted one adult bald eagle at Bantam Lake. We also looked for birds at Pitch, Morris, and Wigwam Reservoirs but did not observe any birds. Nearly 100 other localities are monitored annually. This information is very useful for monitoring eagle populations and is a data source that was used when the US Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the conservation status of Bald Eagle, which was delisted from US Endangered Species list in 2007. Bald Eagles remained a protected species by many state endangered species lists and the federal act "The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act".
Bald Eagles have been steadily recolonizing the state of Connecticut as a breeding bird. New nests are being found throughout the state almost every year. If we are lucky, we may be able to report that they will be nesting at Bantam Lake soon. Until then, you can see them hunting for fish on Bantam Lake and River usually each spring, late summer, and into the autumn until the ice covers the lake. When ice coverage is nearly complete, Bald Eagles fly to nearby rivers that don't tend to freeze, especially at the foot of large dams that constantly discharge water.