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Record number of eagle and osprey nests in Wisconsin

The Ap

Wisconsin wildlife officials say they’ve counted a record number of occupied eagle and osprey nests this year.

Aerial survey results released Tuesday show 1,504 occupied eagle nests, which is 39 more than last year, and 558 occupied osprey nests — 16 more than last year, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

“The recovery of bald eagles in Wisconsin is a great conservation success story and one that more Wisconsin residents are seeing up close as eagles expand into new territories,” said Drew Feldkirchner, director of the natural heritage conservation program for the state.

The state’s osprey population dramatically declined between the 1950s and the early 1970s as shoreline habitat was developed.

Today, 75 percent of state osprey nests are built on platforms erected on utility poles, cellphone towers and other tall structures.

“We’re also very pleased to see osprey numbers continue to climb and appreciate our partnership with utility companies and other partners to provide artificial nesting platforms for these birds,” Feldkirchner said.

State Department of Natural Resources pilots conducted the survey in March and April.

The state said it didn’t conduct a second aerial survey as in past springs to gauge reproductive success because the populations are healthy and growing and resources are being shifted to survey other non-game species, the State Journal reported.