Wild Things Doing the Wild Thing: Georgia's Eagles, Turtles and Woodpeckers Enjoy Outstanding Reproductive Seasons


Multiple animal species in Georgia enjoyed outstanding -- and even record! -- reproductive seasons this year, according to information released by Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Among the most successful: bald eagles, loggerhead turtles, and woodpeckers.

A fast-moving bald eagle dives to a lake surface, hoping for a meal. Nesting eagles reached a record number in Georgia in 2022.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

In July, Georgia DNR reported that bald eagle nests in the state increased to record numbers in 2022. Now in August, DNR reports that loggerhead turtles have set a state nesting record, and rare red-cockaded woodpeckers were on their way to an outstanding nesting season.

To find and monitor nesting bald eagles, DNR conducted survey flights this winter and spring. DNR officials counted counted 229 nest territories, topping the previous high set in 2017. That included 37 new nests which had not been spotted and counted before.

Of the observed nests, 146 were considered "successful," that is, produced young eagles. Adult eagles in those successful nests fledged, or raised from eggs to flight, 227 eagles. Both of those counts exceeded the 2017 nesting year record of 142 successful nests producing 218 young eagles. Eagle nesting results were reported in a DNR press release issued July 19.

Georgia DNR counted 37 never-before-recorded eagles' nests in Georgia.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

In August, DNR's Sea Turtle Conservation Program continued watching loggerhead turtle nesting all along the state's coast line. With over 4,000 nests counted by mid-August, loggerheads topped the prior high of 3,950 nests set in 2019. Georgia nests were estimated to contain more than 270,000 eggs. DNR posts online up-to-date information on Georgia's sea turtle nesting, success rates and other statistics.

Also enjoying a record-setting reproductive year: red-cockaded woodpeckers. DNR monitored 63 breeding groups of the rare birds and banded 83 nestlings, according to agency reports. That included a record 54 young at Silver Lake WMA near Bainbridge in the far southeast corner of Georgia. Despite their name, the endangered small woodpeckers are mostly black and white. They excavate nest and roost cavities in pine trees and forests.

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I'm a trained journalist, global traveler and retired business executive who worked for more than 20 years with some of the world's best and largest restaurant enterprises. I left the business world behind, living in Northwest Georgia and writing about avocations including outdoor excursions, family-friendly travel, road trips, exploration ideas for active seniors and some of my community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries, and I'm still counting up. I'm a traveler, hiker, cyclist, blogger, marketing consultant, community volunteer and local high school band nerd who previously has lived in Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Mississippi. I'm a South Louisiana-born French Cajun whose great-grandparents were sugar farmers, bar owners and reputed bootleggers. My upbringing in food-rich Louisiana and my restaurant industry career affirmed my status as an over-qualified eater. That also inspired the name of my blog, OurTravelCafe.com. There, I offer up a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA

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