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Montezuma eagle survey, postponed by government shutdown, back on track

After missing the original date due to the since-ended federal government shutdown, the annual survey of bald eagles in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge has been rescheduled.

Volunteer survey organizer David Marsh said Thursday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which coordinates the survey of the previously-endangered birds nationally, said the new date of Feb. 8 would still be early enough for the results to be useful.

Originally scheduled for Jan. 11, the survey was postponed when the shutdown forced the closure of four of 14 trails used for the survey, which happened to be where 50-percent of eagle sightings occurred last year, Marsh said.

Data gathered from the survey is used to compare long-term trends as opposed to year-to-year shifts, so surveys need to be conducted at approximately the same time each year in order for viable data.

Although the new date is nearly a month later than planned, Marsh said the corps told him the data would still be helpful if completed by mid-February.

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