LAS VEGAS (KLAS)— An annual survey conducted by the National Park Service (NPS) counted 131 eagles in the Lake Mead area.

As the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle is an important and powerful symbol.

“A full wing spread would be longer than my arms, I think they can get up to six feet,” NPS Wildlife Technician Clayton Merrill said.

This time of year there are plenty of eagles around Lake Mead. Merrill said during the winter months eagles tend to go there because of plentiful food in the form of fish. 

“The bald eagles are really tied to water and rivers and large lakes,” Merrill told 8 News Now.

While the eagles are there, it is a good time to count just how many of them there are. 

The count is done through a national survey conducted every year. 

“It gives us an idea of bald eagle health throughout the entire country,” Merrill explained. 

This week, 41 volunteers, with binoculars in hand, spread across the lake and counted 131 bald eagles. 

Merrill said in 2022 they counted 151 eagles, and 185 in 2021.

But, the lower count isn’t something to be worried about, as sometimes eagles travel elsewhere during the winter months. 

With the information gathered in Lake Mead, the wildlife technicians will give it to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. 

The data can often help with any kind of law-making decisions when it comes to the control of lead which is a major threat to bald eagles.