Winging a comebackNot so long ago, it took an eagle eye to spot one around Douglas County. But these days more and more eagles are calling Douglas County home.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Not so long ago, it took an eagle eye to spot one around Douglas County. But these days more and more eagles are calling Douglas County home – including the one pictured above that built a nest near Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center.
Other local areas where eagles are often seen include Lake Christina, Lake Rachel, Lake Carlos State Park, Lake Ida and northeast of Krueger’s Creek access on Lake L’Homme Dieu.
The bald eagle population, which was at all-time lows in 1972, has rebounded in recent years because of federal law protection and successful habitat conservation efforts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The best opportunities for seeing a bald eagle is December through March, DNR conservation officers said.
For 35 years, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species. The bird was taken off the list in 2007 but bald eagles and their nests are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protect Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
In 2007, approximately 2,300 pairs of bald eagles were nesting in Minnesota.
Bald eagles are not game animals. DNR conservation officers point out that the fine for killing this beautiful bird is up to $10,000.
Here are some other facts, provided by the DNR, about our nation’s symbol:
•The bald eagle is one of the most powerful birds of prey. It usually hunts from the air, sometimes flying as fast as 50 miles per hour.
•Their typical diet consists of fish, ducks and other water birds, along with dead animals (carrion) such as deer that die from car collisions or during cold winters.
•Adult bald eagles are readily identified by their white heads and tails. The rest of the feathers are dark brown.
•Males and females are identical in color but females are larger. Males weigh 8-9 pounds and females weigh 10-14 pounds.
•Eagles are three to three and a half feet long from beak to tail and have a wingspread ranging from six to seven and a half feet.
•Bald eagles nest from March to July, and mated pairs usually return to the same nest each year. Eaglets hatch in 35 days, weigh about four ounces and are covered in gray down.
•Bald eagles do not acquire their adult plumage until they are 4 to 5 years old. Until then, many of the feathers are partially white, contributing to a brown pattern with irregular white marks on the breast and wings.
•Eagles may live to the age of 25 or 30 years.