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posted: 1/24/2010 12:01 AM

Experts say number of eagles near Mississippi low

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QUINCY -- A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranger says the number of eagles along the Mississippi River near Quincy appears to be uncommonly low so far this year.

Dennis Franks is a Mississippi River ranger for the corps. He says during a count in December he saw 50 to 60 eagles, but earlier this week he saw only four. The week before it was 17.

Last year, around the same time in January, officials with the corps spotted 154 eagles at their Quincy facility.

Franks says there are a few possible explanations.

For one, he says warmer weather means the normally ice-encased river has opened up which makes the birds disperse. He says the birds are likely in the area, but just can't be seen.

Another possible explanation is several construction projects along the river.