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Backpacker Magazine – June 2010

Wildlife: Where to See Bald Eagles

Look high for huge nests when trying to spot these beauties.

by: Kelly Bastone


Range
Canada, Mexico, and every U.S. state except Hawaii

Where

>> Atop tall trees or telephone poles near rivers and lakes Look for their huge nests—often five feet in diameter and three to 10 feet deep—built with sticks rather than straw.

When
>> May and June This is when parents hang out near the aerie, caring for hatchlings.

How
>> Recognize a baldy by its wing profile: When eagles glide, their wings form a straight line perpendicular to the body, like a ‘T,’ not a V-shape like turkey vultures.

Top spots
Haines, AK, has one of the greatest baldy densities. See them feasting on salmon October through December. In the Mississippi valley, between Cairo, IL, and St. Paul, MN, up to 5,000 eagles winter on the river, clustering near locks and dams. Also, paddling the Delaware River pretty much guarantees baldy sightings.

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I was out geocaching a week ago near the town of Cascade, Iowa which has one of the states largest hog breeding opperations located just south of town. Driving down a gravel road that ran ajacent to the hog operation in the middle of the road were 6 eagles feasting on a piglet they snatched up from the farm. On the hill over looking the farm were another half dozen eagles watching the piglets run about. Like the article said there are many eagles wintering on the Mississippi. We have hundreds of the them here in Dubuque, Iowa at Lock and Dam #11.

D. L. Guthrie
Jul 21, 2010

Just came back from Homer Alaska and saw many of them all over town. I have in the past saw them at glacier NP in the hundreds but they seem to have moved on.

Stephen Hayman
Jul 15, 2010

Of course most anywhere around YNP Wyoming. I lived right on the Snake 2 miles south of the south entrance and would see 8-10 fishing the river.

Watching the adult teach the young to fish was an amazing site. Many times they would be sitting in a tree right above and then you could see the true size.

Once will at work we watched the mating ritual where they gain altitude then come together as they free fall.

Most majestic bird I've ever seen!

ealaspada
Jul 15, 2010

I can't believe you haven't listed central Florida! Florida has about the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles outside of northwest, and was the home to the only stable population of them (outside of Alaska) during the 70s. In February you can come see the chicks!

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