"In the last six years, we've been doing a winter eagle survey since we've had some numbers so we could see how many might be here, usually the second Saturday in January. We have anywhere from a dozen to over 30 volunteers from different organizations and from people who are interested in birds of prey." says Phillips.
These a some of them, volunteers who love these birds and who spend a lot of time watching them, and watching out for them.
This is downtime for them, but twice a year these folks are scattered around checking for eagles.
"We put them in different sites along the rivers, primarily along the New, if we have enough people, we put some on the Bluestone and on the Greenbrier, and everybody watches between 10am and 2pm and they keep a data sheet, they say how old it is, what it's doing, if it's perched or flew into the area." says Phillips.
And what they have seen recently is just amazing. These beautiful birds are flying over West Virginia in increasing numbers, and some are making the state their home.
"When we started this 6 years ago, we had 4 bald eagles. In January, we had 13, so the numbers are coming up. We also do a March survey, we decided that there are so many around they must be nesting so we watch for nesting behavior, birds carrying sticks or grasses to put into a nest." says Phillips.
And now Jim Phillips can say he's seen a long career of taking care of animals fulfilled...you're looking at an eagle's nest with an adult eagle sitting on eggs...something Jim says he never thought he'd see in our state.
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