— “I bet they see the eagles” said my friend Tom Newsom as we approached an area in rural Howard County. He was referring to the group of people who stood on a bridge spanning the Wildcat Creek. Some had binoculars, others had cameras and one guy had what looked like a large telescope.
As we neared the steel-and-concrete span, it was easy to notice the two huge birds as they majestically perched in a towering Sycamore overlooking the flowing water and the people gathered to watch them.
“I don’t care how many times you see them, they are still beautiful,” Newsom added, pulling his truck onto the shoulder where he could admire the birds of prey.
“Would you look at that?” Newsom said in disbelief as two men disregarded the numerous “no trespassing” signs posted on the property where the eagles had nested. The pair had walked within close proximity of the nest to get a better look.
“It’s people like that who make me sick,” he said in disgust. “If they don’t have any respect for wildlife or another person’s property, they don’t have respect for themselves.”
I had to agree with him.
For most of the 20th century, bald eagles were absent in Indiana. A once rare site in the Hoosier state, it’s not uncommon any more thanks to reintroduction efforts began in the mid 1980s when 73 young eagles were released in a successful attempt to establish a breeding population. The first nesting attempt was noted in 1989 and the first successful nests were observed by biologists in 1991.
The majestic bird, symbolic of our nation’s freedom and independence, currently reside in Indiana in record numbers and predictions are their numbers will continue to swell in coming years.
DNR helicopter surveys of bald eagle populations done between March and April revealed the highest population of eagles ever recorded in Indiana. A state record 119 nests were found to be occupied by eagle pairs. This number eclipsed the previous record of 101 nests recorded in 2008. Bald eagles were removed from the Federal Endangered Species list in 2007 and Indiana’s list in 2008. However, they still are considered a species of special concern and are highly monitored and