The annual Wintering Golden Eagle Survey is conducted on the third Saturday in January. The survey is part of an on-going project to learn more about the golden eagle population in the blufflands region. Golden eagles were not previously considered regular inhabitants of this area. The Wintering Golden Eagle Survey gathers important data to document a regular wintering population of golden eagles in the blufflands of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Wintering Golden Eagle Survey – January 17, 2015
Preliminary results:

Adults Juveniles TOTAL
Golden Eagle 100 37 137
Bald Eagle 1,448 1,773
Red-tail Hawk 643
Rough-legged Hawk 119
American Kestrel 107

Data includes 55 route areas reporting.

More than 180 observers covered 56 survey areas from Hastings, MN to southern Iowa and across nine counties in western Wisconsin.

2015 Wintering Golden Eagle Survey Results:

Golden Eagles – 137 total
100 adults
37 immature or sub-adult
By state:
WI: 94
MN: 36
IA: 7
2014 results:112 golden eagles – 93 adults
2013 results: 132 Golden Eagles – 98 adults
2012 results: 129 Golden Eagles – 93 adults
2011 results:  83 Golden Eagles – 60 adutls
2010 results:  96 Golden Eagles – 59 adults
Bald Eagles – 1,773 total
1,488 adult
This is such an amazing number to show  how many Bald Eagles winter in the bluff country well  away from the open water areas of the  Mississippi River. Last year (2014) 878 Bald Eagles were recorded. of which 720 were adult birds.
Red-tailed Hawk
2014 results: 400
Rough-legged Hawks
119;  up from last year
Other raptors observed:
Twelve species of raptors were seen, including the above mentioned
American Kestrel (107)
Red-shouldered Hawk (1)
Cooper”s Hawk (7)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (4)
Northern Harrier (5)
Eastern Screech Owl (1)
Great Horned Owl (1)
Merlin (1)
Northern Shrike
2015: 6
Previous years: 2014: 18, 2013: 21
Some of the other birds of note were 896 Wild Turkey, 45 Eastern Bluebirds, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 4 Trumpeter Swans, 4 Red-headed Woodpeckers, 1 Northern Flicker, 1 Song Sparrow, 3 White-throated Sparrows, 2 Yellow-Rumped Warblers, 1 Common Grackle, 1 Rusty Blackbird, 4 Red-winged Blackbird, and 12 Gadwall.

Wintering Golden Eagle Survey Results (2010-2014) – Interactive Map

Click and scroll anywhere on the map below. Wintering Golden Eagle Survey routes are shaded. Click on any route area to get view summary survey data (2010-2014).

View Larger Map

The Golden Eagle Project is also tracking golden eagles using GPS satellite transmitters to find out more about migration and possible breeding origin of these birds. An interactive map with tracking data from golden eagles is available online at Golden Eagle Tracking.

The Golden Eagle Project is a partnership of the National Eagle Center and Audubon Minnesota with support from the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service and funding through Minnesota’s Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

To find out more about the Golden Eagle Project or to volunteer with the Annual Survey, contact the Golden Eagle Project at