Some bald eagle lovers feared this winter’s warm start might mean there would be fewer of the majestic creatures soaring across Iowa’s skies, but that’s evidently not the case.
Pat Schlarbaum, a wildlife diversity technician with the Iowa D.N.R., says Iowans are having thousands of chances to see the big birds.
“The midwinter bald eagle surveys have been completed,” Schlarbaum says. “There was quite a wide distribution of eagles. In a typical winter, they would be concentrated where there’s open water, but there are eagles to see, probably upwards of 3,000 that reside in Iowa each winter.”
While parts of Iowa were repeatedly in the 60’s and 70’s during January, Schlarbaum says the unseasonably warm spell had little impact on the eagles’ usual migration patterns.
“We have not detected any downturns in the eagle population,” he says. “In fact, there were over 300 nesting attempts last year, so all those young are included in this year’s opportunity to see our national symbol in all its glory.” Eagle watching events are planned in several Iowa locations for the next few weeks. Schlarbaum says the D.N.R. brings in experts to deliver educational talks about the eagles.
“There are also viewing opportunities for the wild birds,” he says. “We have spotting scopes and viewing professionals there to assist the public. It’s really a well-rounded family activity.”
Events planned over the coming weeks include: Des Moines Lunch with Eagles, Friday, Feb. 24; Prairie du Chien Eagle Watch, Saturday, Feb. 25; Saylorville Bald Eagle Watch, Polk City, Sunday, February 26; Red Rock Bald Eagle Watch, Pella, March 2-3; Linn Grove Eagle Watch, Saturday, March 3.
For more details, visit: “www.missriver.org“.