Cold Weather Attracting Bald Eagles - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cold Weather Attracting Bald Eagles

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CERRO GORDO COUNTY (KWWL) -- The recent drop in temperature is driving our national bird into the Hawkeye state.

Thousands of bald eagles are leaving their summer nesting areas, and heading south for the winter.  DNR Wildlife Diversity Coordinator Doug Harr said this provides Iowans unique, firsthand opportunities to view the large animal.

As populations continue to soar, Harr said Iowa's bald eagle sightings are becoming increasingly spectacular.  In fact, Harr said it's as good as it gets anywhere in the "lower 48."

"Around 2,300 pairs of eagles were reported in Minnesota this summer, and Canada has even more," Harr said. "As harsh weather forces birds south, Iowa becomes a winter destination as eagles collect around open fishing waters.

Harr said she talked to one person who drove all the way from New Jersey to spot the birds.

Not all eagles are in search of good fishing.  Some are hoping to pick off sick, injured, or careless ducks and geese.  In Clear Lake, an adult bald eagle plucked a goldeneye duck from the middle of a snoozing flock.

"As fast as the big waters are currently freezing to our north, I'd expect to see a huge influx of bald eagles move into Iowa during the next few days," said Harr. "Most of these birds are coming straight down the chute from Minnesota and Canada, and viewing opportunities are occurring statewide. I think we'll continue to see some pretty good stacking up of eagles during the next two weeks."

Online Reporter: Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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