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Salt Plains NWR - 2007 Eagle Watch
Southwest Region, January 14, 2007
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The Annual Eagle Watches at Salt Plains NWR were a success. By limiting the number of partipants, the quality of the event was better for all involved and visitors were able to watch eagles for a greater length of time.

The 2007 Eagle Watches were the first "reservation required" events at Salt Plains NWR. Due to overwhelming popularity of the event, refuge staff had to double the viewing events over last year, but also limit the numbers of guests at each event. The Salt Plains NWR eagle watches give a natural history lesson about eagles, then takes the group out to the field to watch the eagles come into their roosting area each evening. Attendance had to be limited in order to "hide" the visitors and create a more quality wildlife observation experience. Visitors who had attended in the past had very positive things to say in response to the smaller birdwatcher numbers and eagle viewing success.

Events were scheduled Friday and Saturday, January 5, 6, 12, 13. Both Saturdays had full registrations at 60, while the Fridays had 20-30 signups. The watches on the 5 th and 6th went off well with excellent (although cold) weather and about 12 eagles watched each night. Unfortunately, the 12th and 13th events had to be cancelled due to ice and snow storms that covered much of the local area and the rest of Oklahoma. We were unable to reschedule the events as we've had several consecutive weekends of snowy weather.

The Eagle Watch is done as a cooperative event with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and winter bird programs are held Saturdays prior to the refuge event. Due to the weather, the second Saturday had to be cancelled for this event, as well.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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