SOUTH BELOIT, Ill.
Baby eagles have hatched on Boney Island as wild bird populations continue to thrive in the area.
“It is cool to watch them as they get older, and you’ll see more of them poking their heads out,” said Therese Oldenburg, Executive Director of Nature at the Confluence.
The eagles’ nest can be seen from two locations in South Beloit, including along a walking trail or from the end of Oak Grove Avenue near the Rock River.
Oldenburg said the adult eagles continue to bring food back to the nest, indicating the babies are healthy.
In about a month, the baby eagles will be big enough to be seen by bird watchers with binoculars. Around the end of June, they will likely begin to practice flying and in July will start learning how to maneuver and hunt.
Oldenburg said that because the nest is located strategically on Boney Island, the eagles are able to thrive without being disturbed while also being near enough for residents to catch a glimpse of their habitat.
“Over the next six weeks, you’ll see a lot of birding activity in the area,” Oldenburg said.
Around the fall, Oldenburg said it is likely the eagles will begin to move on to large lakes in the region as various birds enter migration periods.
Oldenburg said eagle populations are on the rebound, adding that white pelicans are also thriving in the area. She said it’s important for the community to have healthy wildlife and natural areas.
On May 16, the Nature at the Confluence plans to host historian and author Brian “Fox” Ellis—who will be portraying the 19th century artist John Audubon—for a bird watching educational hike. Community members are asked to register in advance.
For more information, visit natureattheconfluence .com.
Beloit resident and city councilor Mark Preuschl is a photographer in his spare time. He spends time on some weekends taking photos of the eagles nest at Boney Island.
Preuschl said he enjoys seeing the eagles thrive and has seen increased community interest in the nest and local trails—particularly in the last year after quarantine.
He added that a thriving eagle population is a indicator that the Rock River is clean and teeming with fish, and it also offers a unique sense of identity in the community.
“The people wanting to see this kind of stuff. This is the best time of year to see it because there’s fewer leaves, there’s a clearer view of the nest,” Preuschl said.