Look up, and smile.

There’s good news from the sky.

More than 50 eagles, golden and bald, were counted during Saturday’s 13th Winter Eagle Survey.

Experts say West Virginia’s eagle population is getting larger.

And many folks are happy to help document that positive trend.

The popular bird-watching event included Jim Phillips and the Three Rivers Avian Center.


Saturday’s cold weather didn’t stop the 23 participants from locating 50 bald eagles (8 adult, 42 immature) and two golden eagles (both immature).

Sharyn Ogden wasn’t bothered by the cold, and posted on social media about the special moments she experienced in the field.

“Spent a chilly day at “the Pits” south of Hinton…Day started about 6 degrees Fahrenheit and rose to a balmy 14 degrees with wind chills below zero,” her Facebook post reads.

“It was a great day with bald and golden eagles, and at the end of the watch a pair of bobcats. Very special.”

She isn’t the only one who believes things are looking up.

“The eagle population is growing in West Virginia.”

“The Winter Eagle Survey is a great time to get out and see these magnificent birds,” said Phillips, retired Pipestem Resort State Park naturalist and coordinator of the Three Rivers Avian Center Eagle Surveys.

In January 2017, 50 bald eagles and one golden eagle were recorded during the survey, according to his Facebook post.

And during the March 2017 survey, 40 bald eagles were recorded at eight sites.

Volunteers are the key to making this event possible.

These individuals, affectionately nicknamed “The Southern West Virginia Eagle Brigade,” spent four hours in the field after going out at 10 a.m.

They typically staff observation sites located in Summers, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Monroe, Lewis and Taylor counties.

At the end of the day, observers in the Bluestone/Pipestem area gathered in Hinton to compare results.

That’s only the beginning.

Other folks who would like to take part in this effort will have their chance in March, said Pipestem Naturalist Julie McQuade.

It will be held March 3, and participants don’t have to be eagle or survey experts.

New volunteers are paired with more experienced folks, and survey sites are assigned in advance “so that everyone can contribute,” she said in a Facebook post.

To register to be part of the Eagle Brigade, email or call her at Julie.A.McQuade@wv.gov or call 304-466-1800.

You can also contact Wendy or Ron Perrone at Three Rivers Avian Center at 304-466-4683, or email trac@tracwv.org.

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