Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 by the Numbers!

To help kick-off Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 29, we wanted to talk about what got done in 2016. Here are the things your donations helped us get done! Please donate to the Raptor Resource Project to help us continue our work in 2017 and beyond! 

Online Interaction and Education
Since January 1, 2016, we have:
  • Provided 1,785 hours of chat on the Decorah eagles channel, including 449 hours of dedicated educational chat. Our Decorah North group provided 576 hours of moderated chat, including special coverage following the deaths of DN3 and DN2. 
  • Posted 364 times on Facebook. Topics and photos included the Decorah Eagles, the Decorah North Eagles, the GSB Peregrine falcons, the Fort St. Vrain eagles, tracking D24 and D25, Robin Brumm's trips to Decorah, peregrine falcon banding, nest box work, and many other topics related to our nests and birds. Posts were shared from Neil Rettig Productions, SOAR, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and Jim Brandenberg's 365 Nature project. 
  • Wrote 31 blogs. We addressed questions about the eagles, the nests (Is N2B big enough?), nest intruders, eaglet growth and development, the proposed 30-year take of eagles, and the deaths of DN2 and DN3, and much more!
  • Expanded our online offerings to explore.org. This ads-free site is presently one of two that streams the Decorah Eagles North channel.
I need to give a shoutout to our amazing volunteer moderators. I have said it before and I will say it again - our volunteers make our pages the best on the web and we could not provide our online educational program without their help!

Monitoring, Banding, Trapping, Recovery, and Nestbox Maintenance
Since January 1, 2016, we have:
  • Monitored over 50 peregrine falcon and bald eagle nest sites and potential territories in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Colorado.
  • Banded 76 falcons at 25 sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois between May 20 and June 16 - a record for us! Our northernmost territory was in Cohasset, Minnesota and our southernmost territory was in Peoria, Illinois. As always, we reported all banding and follow up data to the Bird Banding Lab and the Midwest Peregrine Society.
  • Installed 2 tracking platforms on D24 and D25 in July. Thanks to the platforms, we know that D25 was killed in a collision with a car in September, but D24 is still going strong! 
  • Retrieved DN2's body from Decorah North in May, and the unhatched eagle egg from N2B in September. DN2's autopsy can be found here. We are waiting for a report on the egg. 
  • Changed gravel at 3 peregrine nest boxes in October and November. The US Bank box in La Crosse also got a new top and we fixed the private camera at the Greysolon box in Duluth.
Thanks to our utility, industrial, and landowner partners for all of their help and support! A huge thanks to Brett Mandernack for including 'our' eagles in his studies and for sharing all of the data about their whereabouts and fates. Thanks also to David and Ann Lynch for their help with the transmitter project. We couldn't do it without all of you!

Camera Research and Installation
We focus on camera installation and nest box maintenance in September and October. Bald eagle cam work ends on October 1st, which is considered the start of the active season in our area. Peregrine falcon work can be done later since we don't tend to see much of them again until late February or early March. Even territorial falcons are less defensive of their nest sites this time of the year.
  • John Howe, Kike Arnal, David Kester, David Lynch, Ann Lynch, John Dingley, Amy Ries, Bill Heston (Xcel Energy), and Pat Donahue (also from Xcel Energy) installed a total of six cameras and four microphones at N1, N2B, Decorah North, Fort St. Vrain, and GSB between September 17 and October 16. We also provided technical support for the Seneca Nation of Indians (a bald eagle cam) and the Marshy Point Nature Center (Marshy Point ospreys). The installations took roughly 900 hours total. 
  • John Howe put in hundreds of hours researching, ordering, and testing cameras this year. While the majority of our installs are done in September and October, camera and streaming research take place year-round. In 2016, we began to move towards 4K at Decorah North and GSB - a big jump for us - and improved the audio at Decorah and Decorah North.
Other Stuff
  • We threw our annual After The Fledge party between July 14th and July 16th. Almost 100 eagle fans and volunteers had a blast celebrating the Decorah eagles and Decorah itself!
  • We provided ongoing technical support to followers who experienced problems watching our eagles, viewing Facebook, and participating in chat. Over 800 followers received support via our website, and an unknown number received support via our Facebook and Twitter.
  • We partnered with Ustream to provide temporary ads-free viewing to 347 teachers and their students.
  • John trained 4 volunteers to operate our cameras remotely - a new and very welcome step for us and our followers. 
Thank you for all of your support and for your donations. They make a difference and we couldn't continue to do it without them! 

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