Warmer weather makes it easier to spend time outdoors in Iowa during the winter, but that warm weather is making one outdoor activity harder to do. Mick Klemesrud of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says bald eagle watching has been tougher without freezing temperatures.
Klemesrud says the low temperatures create ice that seals off the waterways and forces the eagles into areas below river dams to look for fish. Klemesrud says with the poor ice and warm weather, there aren’t one or two good places to watch a concentration of eagles. He says the viewing that’s normally good below the dams at Lake Red Rock, Saylorville Lake and the Mississippi River isn’t as good as the eagle spread out.
Klemesrud says you can still see eagles, but it takes more work. Klemesrud says it’s nice to have the ice conditions that concentrate the eagles. Klemesrud says the eagles are now able to find a lot more sources of food, instead of having to rely on a few areas of open water.
Klemesrud says if you field dress a deer and leave a gut pile, eagles will eat that, or they’ll find a dead animal on a farm. He says eagles are an “opportunistic feeder.” Klemesrud says the eagles had been limited to the opportunities of the open water, but the warm weather leaves a lot more food sources available. Eagles were once nearly wiped out by the use of pesticides, but have made a big recovery in Iowa.