The Midwinter Eagle survey across northern and central Wyoming depends on volunteers to make it happen.   The count by the Bureau of Land Management and its partners takes place this Saturday with training for volunteers over the next three days.

"Saturday morning they will head out on their assigned survey routes and drive and record the number of Bald and Golden Eagles that they see and the locations in which they see them. Then they return the information to us which we  report to the National Survey Program."

Charlotte Darling is a Range and Wildlife Technician with the Bureau of Land Management's Buffalo Field office.  She says the survey has been going on across the country since the late 70s and maintains an index of Eagles in the lower 48 states.

Darling says the Buffalo Field Office covers  about 50 different routes across Johnson, Sheridan and Campbell Counties.  She says most of the routes are along waterways where Eagles gather at night.

"We've had about between a 150 to 300 eagles in the last several years - since 2006 - when we started doing the surveys of the powder river basin.  The average tends to be about six to eight eagles seen on each route."  She says results indicate populations are stable with some variation caused by the weather.   "On warmer days the eagles tend to leave their night time roosts earlier in the day before the volunteers can get out there.  Where as on colder days they tend to hang out in the trees a little bit longer "

Most of the eagles,  Darling says, are seasonal visitors that come down from Alaska to winter in our slightly warmer climate.

The first volunteer training is Tuesday evening in Buffalo with another  on Wednesday in  Sheridan and a third on Thursday in Gillette.

Contact the Buffalo Field Office for more information.