More bald eagles are making Iowa their home than possibly anytime in state history. The majestic creatures are on the hunt at this time of year and the big birds are now available for viewing in every corner of the state.

Pat Schlarbaum, a wildlife diversity technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says there are more than 400 eagle nesting pairs across the state’s 99 counties. “I think it was O’Brien County that was our 99th county to document bald eagle nesting,” Schlarbaum says. Iowa had no bald eagles for roughly seven decades until a nesting pair was confirmed in the state in the late 1970’s.

There are bald eagle watch events scheduled in the upcoming weeks in Clinton, the Quad Cities, Dubuque, Keokuk, Muscatine, Coralville, Des Moines, and O’Brien County in northwest Iowa. “They’re normally a solitary bird…but this time of year, they group together and hunt together,” Schlarbaum says. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy our national symbol.”