Bald Eagle Watch Attracts Tourists to Guttenberg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bald Eagle Watch Attracts Tourists to Guttenberg

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GUTTENBERG (KWWL) -

When you think of outdoor winter activities, something involving snow or ice probably come to mind. But for some, all they need are their eyes...to spot America's national symbol- the bald eagle. Saturday in Clayton County, people could do just that at Guttenberg's annual Bald Eagle Watch.

Brett Mandernack of Glen Haven, Wis., loves eagles. He says he's in the right place because so many eagles call Guttenberg home in winter, due to its location on the Mississippi River.

"That's part of the reason I am here. Not only do I enjoy doing research on them, I really enjoy watching them. It makes me smile every single day," Mandernack said.

Mandernack is one of hundreds of people who come to Guttenberg this time of year to watch bald eagles along the Mississippi River. It's hard to go anywhere in town without seeing a bald eagle.

"It means a lot to this town. Clayton Ridge High School that's the home of the Eagles, all their sports programs." Said Mary Beth Theis, tourism director for Guttenberg.

Saturday, hundreds of tourists flocked to Guttenberg as part of the annual Bald Eagle Watch to get views not only of the bald eagles, but the city as well.

"We have the natural beauty of the Mississippi River, the eagles are definitely a bonus, especially this time of year when it is so cold," Theis said.

Tourism money helps repair roads and spur Guttenberg's economy.

"The population of Guttenberg is about 1,800 to 2,000 people and what it means to bring in those tourism dollars is just tremendous," Theis said.

For a town that sees most of its tourism money flow in the summer - not the winter.

"What that means for the community, is people come and stay in our community, eat in our community and shop in our community. It brings tourism dollars to our areas and that is what we are really trying to promote." Theis said.

During the winter months, people can expect to see small groups of bald eagles in the Guttenberg area. One person said they counted 98 eagles in one sighting the other day.

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