An assessment of the bald eagle and great blue heron breeding populations along Lake Tillery and Blewett Falls Lake in North Carolina: 2011 breeding season
Waterways along the Yadkin-Pee Dee River between Lake Tillery and Blewett Falls Lake were surveyed for nesting bald eagles and great blue herons during the breeding season of 2011. Six bald eagle territories were determined to be active including three on Lake Tillery, two along the Yadkin-Pee Dee River between Tillery Dam and Blewett Falls Lake, and one on Blewett Falls Lake. Collectively, these pairs produced 11 chicks. Five great blue heron colonies were located including three on the lower portion of Lake Tillery and two below the Norwood Dam. These colonies supported 185 nesting pairs. Populations of both bald eagles and great blue herons continue to increase along the upper Yadkin-Pee Dee River. The river between the town of Yadkin above High Rock Reservoir and Blewett Falls Lake now supports 11 occupied bald eagle territories that produced 17 chicks in 2011. This reach now supports 19 great blue heron colonies that in 2011 contained 1,096 pairs of great blue herons, 71 pairs of great egrets and 85 pairs of double-crested cormorants. In addition to these breeding birds, the system supports large numbers of wintering double-crested cormorants, waterfowl, and a growing number of white pelicans. Activity continues to be focused around hydroelectric dams presumably because the flow conditions below these structures improves food availability and foraging for these bird species.