Requesting thoughts about White-tailed Kites & Golden Eagles- seeing less of them

Denise and David Hamilton

Hi all,
I am wondering if any of you have any thoughts, statistics, or opinions as to why when I’m out birding, I now see so few White-tailed Kites and Golden Eagles.  Not that the eagles were ever abundant, but in the past years I’ve always seen them a time or 2 circling over my home in Napa, or seeing them out birding.  Last year at home- none, out birding, rarely.  We see a lot more Bald Eagles these days than Goldens.  The same with White-tailed Kites.  We could almost always depend on a day outing and seeing the kites.  Last year and possibly sooner, more often than not, we don’t see any or maybe 1 or a pair. 
We do most of our ‘local’ birding in Napa, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, and Yolo counties; and other times going out into other counties.  Is this a trend that others have noticed?  Not sure what else to say, other than it makes me sad to see not to see these birds.
I’d appreciate any comments.
Thank you,
Denise & David Hamilton

Nina Jones

I do monthly Raptor Surveys in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties on a regular basis. There were fewer raptors in general this last year which in my opinion is due to less prey due to drought, over grazing and habitat loss for both prey and predator. We have especially noticed a lack of kites and harriers in areas where we would see them on a regular basis in prior years. This last year we noticed a drastic drop in raptor numbers as the summer approached and on through the fall. Many of the fields were over-grazed plus many of the grassland areas on our routes had a change in use to agriculture.
I am a volunteer survey participant so this is just an opinion from being involved for the last 5 years. We have noted that as the grasslands were revived by the rains and the rodents and insects returned that the numbers are slowly improving ( winter surveys in general usually produce higher counts though), However the numbers have not increased to the previous years totals.
As far as eagles we have noticed a change in numbers but we still get about the same ratio of Bald vs Golden overall.
There is my 2 cents for what it is worth.
Nina Jones

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
Rachel Carson