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Volunteers needed for Eagle Watch at Abiquiu Lake


Some of the volunteers counted eagles at fixed land viewing stations during the annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Watch, Jan. 7, 2017. In total of 12 eagles were counted. This year’s Eagle Watch event is set for Saturday, Jan. 6.

New Mexicans are invited to join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Abiquiu Lake – about 30 miles northwest of Espanola — this Saturday as it hosts its annual Midwinter Eagle Watch event from 10 a.m. to noon.

Maxwell, the Abiquiu Lake Wildlife Center’s resident educational bald eagle, meets volunteers before they go out to count eagles. (Courtesy of John Mueller)

Visitor volunteers — who will help count eagles over a sizable stretch of the area — will be meet at the Abiquiu Lake Project Office, with doors opening at 9 a.m. The Wildlife Center will give a short educational program on bald eagles, featuring their non-releasable bald eagle, Maxwell, organizers said in a news release. Hot coffee and snacks will be available. Volunteers are asked to dress warmly and bring binoculars, notepads, and drinking water.

The purpose of the watch is to count eagles along standard, non-overlapping survey routes as part of a national Midwinter Bald Eagle survey. National Wildlife Federation officials have asked each state to count the raptors along standard routes to provide data, according to a news release.

Organizers also said that volunteering for the watch is a great opportunity to encourage shared environmental stewardship efforts with the public to promote wildlife conservation. The count also helps create public interest in bald eagles and their conservation, organizers said.

Researchers plan to index the total wintering bald eagle populations in the lower 48 states and to identify previously unrecognized areas of important winter habitat.

The count has become a national tradition since 1984, and is an annual event at Abiquiu Lake.

The Abiquiu Lake Project Office is located on State Highway 96 just 2 miles west of the State Highway 84 junction.

For additional information, call the project office at 505-685-4371.

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