Winter prime time for eagle spotting

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Staff | January 10, 2014

In the spring of 2013, an eagle nest was documented for the first time in Racine County, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' website. Eagle sightings were also reported near the Racine-Kenosha county line and in Walworth County.

DNR Warden Juan Gomez said he hasn't seen a bald eagle in the county yet this winter, and generally hasn't seen many in the past four years he's been assigned to Walworth County, but he knows they are around.

“When I was the warden in Burlington they were observed along the Fox River most of the winter,” he said.    

Summer might be prime bird-watching time, but winter often rewards spotters with bald eagle sightings.

They're hard-to-miss, magnificent birds with wingspans that measure up to six feet, huge beaks and talons, and a regal look.

From December through early March, many bald eagles congregate in open water areas like dams and power plants, where the birds can snag fish. The Wisconsin DNR says sightings are most common in mornings as the eagles search for their first meals of the day. 

Here are a few opportunities in the next few months to spot bald eagles:

The 27th annual Bald Eagle Watching Days, January 17-18, Sauk City and Prairie du Sac. Events take place at the River Arts Center, 105 Ninth St., Prairie du Sac; VFW Park, Prairie du Sac; Wollersheim Winery, 7876 Wisconsin Highway 188, Prairie du Sac; and the Tripp Heritage Museum, 565 Water St., Prairie du Sac. Learn more by calling (800) 683-2453.

Second annual Eagle Days on the Fox River, January 25, 1000 Islands Environmental Center, 1000 Beaulieu Court, Kaukauna. For more details, call (920) 766-4733.

Cassville's Bald Eagle Days, Jan. 25-26 at the Cassville Riverside Park Observatory and Cassville High School, 715 E. Amelia St. Outdoor viewing with staffed volunteers from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. Educational programs at the Cassville High School on Sat., Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (608) 725-5855.

Prairie du Chien's Bald Eagle Appreciation Days, held February 21-22. Saturday's activities include live bald eagle and raptor programs, educational exhibits and displays on birding and the environment and children's activities. Outdoor bird scopes to spot eagles and a life-sized bald eagle's nest will be located at the Regional Tourism Center, 211 S. Main St., Prarie du Chein. For more information, contact the tourism council at (800) 732-1673.

Bald Eagle Days, Ferryville Village Hall and Fire Department, 170 Main St., March 1. Call (608) 734-9077.

Check out the DNR's website for even more information on eagle watching in Wisconsin.

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