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Mary Griffin

Mary Griffin

Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game (DFG)

View Commissioner Griffin’s Bio

Commissioner Griffin reported from the first day of the annual statewide bald eagle survey – held on January 8, 2010 – when she was scouting eagles on ponds on the South Shore. The two-day survey yielded 71 bald eagle sightings across the state. Click here for more information about the survey and the historic efforts to protect this species.

For the second year in a row, I took part in the nationwide midwinter bald eagle survey, which is coordinated in Massachusetts by DFG’s MassWildlife.

At 10:00 a.m. I met up on Long Pond Road with Betty Anderson, Chair of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee; Dick Turner, wildlife biologist in MassWildlife’s southeast district; Wayne Petersen, Director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas program for Mass Audubon; and several volunteers.

Bald eagle soaring

There were light flurries so the visibility was challenging. But I came prepared by wearing plenty of fleece and toting my binoculars. We drove around to three spots in Lakeville, Middleborough, and Plymouth. At each spot there were spotting scopes, kind of like small telescopes that sit on tripods. At our first stop, we spotted the first eagle of our trip across one of the ponds perching on a dead tree pile. We also spotted a dead deer carcass on the ice and thought it might attract other birds of prey. For one volunteer in our group, it was the first time they had ever seen a bald eagle up close. It was thrill to watch her excitement!

After scrambling down some banks and walking through the woods along the pond, we arrived at our next spot. We spotted a second eagle at 11:00 a.m.

It was a wonderful morning looking at eagles and talking to experienced birders. I am grateful to the staff and volunteers who helped gather vital information about this threatened species.

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