April 18, Free Trip into Louisiana’s Bayou Teche NWR

Contact: Donovan Garcia (337) 923-9718

Experience all the flora and fauna of the Cajun Coast first hand!

FRANKLIN, LA – Free guided tours aboard motorized boats into the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge are being held April 18, 2015 for the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival.

Tours will be guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge.

Advanced reservations the day of the event are required. Registration will be at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tent set up in Historic Downtown Franklin. Please register early at the tent as trips fill quickly.

Groups will be limited in size for optimal viewing experience. Tour times are 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Trips may be cancelled due to weather.

Winter Golden Eagle Count Results

Press Release:

On January 17th, volunteers from the National Eagle Center spread out across the blufflands of southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin and eastern Iowa during the 11th annual Wintering Golden Eagle Survey. They were seeking golden eagles that winter in the hills and valleys of the region.

Golden Eagle in Flight

More than 180 observers drove rural roads, outfitted with binoculars and spotting scopes to survey the area for golden eagles. Preliminary results reveal that they observed 136 golden eagles, the most ever recorded for the survey. Though this number has increased over the years, it is likely that the increase is a result of more observers covering a larger area, and more experience on the part of the observers in picking out these hard to spot golden eagles.

Observers also recorded other birds, especially raptors, seen during the survey. Saturday’s survey recorded more than 500 red-tailed hawks and 1,734 bald eagles.

‘That’s an amazing number of bald eagles for survey areas that are away from the Mississippi River” says Golden Eagle Project coordinator and National Eagle Center Education Director, Scott Mehus. Typically in winter, large numbers of bald eagles can be found along the river, congregating near open water to find fish. The National Eagle Center conducts weekly wintering bald eagle counts along the Mississippi River, which are available at nationaleaglecenter.org.

This winter with warmer temperatures, more open water and little snow cover, bald eagles are more dispersed, with few large congregations in any one location. Large numbers seen in the blufflands confirm that the population of bald eagles is still healthy, and many are finding food away from the river. By comparison, the 2014 survey counted just 878 bald eagles in the same areas.

Eagle Festival Links… and Quincy, Illinois, updates

sepia eagles on nestThe American Eagle Foundation has a section of its website (www.eagles.org) dedicated to Eagle Festivals held throughout the United States and Canada. If your community would like to update listings, please use this link: http://www.eagles.org/programs/educational-resources/Eagle-Festivals-and-Events.php

We have the following information for the Quincy, Illinois, Bald Eagle Watch.  January 25-26, 2014
Outdoor Viewing at Quincy, IL; Lock and Dam #21
Indoor exhibits and events at Oakley Lindsey Civic Center
Schedule: Saturday and Sunday, January 25-26, 2014.
Indoor exhibits and events from 9:00 – 5:00 both Saturday and Sunday,
Outdoor viewing at Lock and Dam 21: 8:00 – 3:00 each day.
Description: Bald Eagle viewing at Lock and Dam #21, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day.
Telephone: For more information, call Quincy Ranger Office: 217-228-0890

Upper Mississippi Has Iced Over in a Hurry!

sepia eagles on nest

Nov. 18… Upper River is shutting down! Pretty much ice-covered. I remember years when I was riding the Steamboats on Nov. 17th!  This morning I saw 9 eagles clustered around a small area of open water. This afternoon…. no more small areas of open water!! Eagles are abundant… I must have seen 20 in a 5 mile stetch this morning… but the river tonight is pretty well sealed up. Eagles will be moving to open water just below the dams. Swans and Pelicans evaporated! Waterfowl are still migrating through looking for open water!

Eagle nests are now clearly visible along the river.


Nov. 10……. Have been driving along the Wisconsin shore north and south of La Crosse. Lots of Swans, and other migrating waterfowl!  Eagles are also ABUNDANT as the river begins to freeze up before our eyes. My hope is that it will all open up again once the polar vortex is well out of the way, but meanwhile waterfowl and Eagles are abundant in the open water.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, after my river weeks on the American Queen, it is the adult American Bald Eagles that seem most abundant to me. Not nearly the number of juveniles that I’ve seen in late fall in past seasons. http://www.greatriver.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/watermarked-eagles-300×86.jpgWould love to hear some comments!



Winter Birding Trips in Upper Midwest

With the Tundra Swans now streaming in to the Upper Mississippi, it’s time to plan some  field trips! The La Crosse Audubon Club suggests the following:

Mississippi River Waterfowl Viewing – November 16, 2014.
We will meet at noon on the street behind the Kwik Trip at the stop lights in La Crescent. We will head south and checkout the mudflats below the entrance to the Wildcat Landing in Brownsville and we will also stop at the refuge overlooks just south of there. This is not the date of the US Fish & Wildlife Service viewing event so it won’t be as crowded. This is a great opportunity to see thousands of Ducks, Geese and Swans.

Lake Michigan Lakefront Birding. (January 10, 2015?)
We will join the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology (WSO) field trip along the shore of Lake Michigan. The trip will probably be held on Saturday, January 10th 8:00 AM and goes as far north as Sheboygan. This trip is a great chance to see waterfowl including Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks as well as other specialties including Snowy Owls and rare gulls. We will carpool from La Crosse. Details will be announced via e-mail in December.

Northwoods Birding, February ?
We would spend a long day checking out the north woods in WI. We would leave before dawn and return after dark with visits to several locations in the Clam Lake and Gordon areas in search of boreal birds.

For more details, including membership information, visit the Coulee Region Audubun Club Website www.couleeaudubon.org

Fall Color Peaks on the Upper Mississippi!

BEST Fall color on the AQRichard

I am just back from a beautiful three weeks cruising with the American Queen between St. Paul and St. Louis. Fall color should be here for the October 18th week in all its glory. Lots of Sunshine predicted, so plan to hit America’s Great River Road! Click here for CURRENT COLOR REPORTS.

eagleOut on the Mississippi River, we noticed an increasing abundance of American Bald Eagles each week of the Sept/October cruise. While my favorite stretches are from Lansing, IA to Red Wing, MN, truly we saw eagles all the way to Alton, Illinois. Noticeably more ADULTS than Juveniles. Not sure why that was. Has anyone else noticed that? Please comment below! Are the sheer number of adult prompting younger birds to be searching further afield? Have the juveniles already started south?

Spring Migration is in Full Swing!

Go on out and see the birds!!

Bluebird preeningToday is a big migration day in the La Crosse area. I birded at Goose Island County Park for about 1/2 hour before work and along the bike trail in northern Onalaska during my lunch hour. Between these two locations, I have seen 20 species of warblers, Blue-headed, Yellow-throated and Warbling Vireos, Great-crested Flycatchers, Indigo Buntings, Grey-cheeked Thrush, and more. There are relatively few Yellow-rumped Warblers so the warbler watching has been pretty spectacular.

Enjoy the birds,

Dan Jackson, President
Coulee Region Audubon Society
La Crosse, Wisconsin