Thursday, February 8, 2018

2018 Bald Eagle Update - Port Royal Sound Foundation

Mature blad eagles at rest overlooking the salt marsh
The old Lemon Island Marina is now home to the Port Royal Sound Foundation, with a maritime center that invites the public to stop in and learn more about a unique ecosystem. Admission is free from 10 – 5 from Tuesday until Saturday, and volunteers are waiting to show the 3000-gallon aquarium filled with marine life and to answer questions. The monthly Tuesday Talks series brings in educational speakers to focus on wildlife species and biologist Tom Murphy spoke in January about his work with the S.C. Bald Eagle program.
Tom Murphy retired in 2009 after 34 years working for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, helping to implement the program to monitor bald eagles. “Setting up a program to monitor and study an endangered species like the bald eagle was a new endeavor, since SCDNR mainly dealt with game species,” said Murphy. “The first ever nest survey flights over South Carolina recorded just 13 bald eagle nests, and that became our baseline to first learn about their natural history and then to marvel at their ability to adapt.”

Join them for Tuesday Talks on Conservation
Today, bald eagle recovery continues to boom and they are no longer listed as an endangered species. “The nest survey flight in 2009 recorded 253 eagle nests in S.C. and their population growth was estimated to be 10% per year,” said Murphy. “We learned that bald eagles didn’t simply migrate into SC during duck migration, but rather it is due to the advantages of winter nesting. The abundance of coots in winter can’t be overstated since they are an easy source of food for bald eagles. And the water clarity in the Lowcountry is best in winter, making for better fishing conditions for bald eagles, which may have vision equivalent to 7X magnification.”

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view my latest Birding Journal Observations click on November / December 2017

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