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Prime time to spot bald eagles in area

Rebecca (left), Emily (center) and Conrad Day participate in the last Eagle Watch of the year on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Salamonie Lake. These events are put on by Upper Wabash Interpretive Services every year in January and February.
Rebecca (left), Emily (center) and Conrad Day participate in the last Eagle Watch of the year on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Salamonie Lake. These events are put on by Upper Wabash Interpretive Services every year in January and February. Photo by Emily Wyatt.

The Upper Wabash Interpretive Services (UWIS) held their last Eagle Watch of the year on Feb. 27, starting at Salamonie Lake and traveling to several other locations. This is the 14th year UWIS has hosted these events. Locals of all ages gathered to see the birds in their natural habitat.

In this area, January and February are the best months to see many eagles at one time.

“They come to the reservoir area in the winter because we are always releasing water from the lakes, so there’s always fishing locations here,” Interpretive Naturalist Manager of UWIS Teresa Rody said.

“When it freezes up in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada and those kinds of places, there’s open water here.”
In previous years, there were places where locals could see 30 birds in one location on an eagle watch. However, Rody said they are scarcer this year because of the extended cold temperatures.

On the UWIS eagle watch tours, people are shown different areas the eagles frequent like their nests, fishing locations and rousting areas. They also learn about the eagles from the naturalists involved in the event.

Rody shared that many people only look for the white head of an eagle. They don’t realize that the eagles will be mostly a mixture of brown and white until they are 4 to 6 years old.

UWIS cautions anyone interested in seeing eagles to remain “at least a football field away, so we aren’t disturbing their behaviors.”

“People often wonder how they see such great photos of eagles on Facebook,” Rody said. “It is just people that have invested a lot of money in really big lenses. So don’t try to repeat that with your own cell phone. Enjoy the birds at a distance.”

For more information on eagles and other wildlife in Indiana, visit the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center, 3691 New Holland Road, Andrews.

Their hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.