Bald eagle numbers in Oklahoma will remain at their peak through February, making right now the perfect time to catch a glimpse of one.
With over a million surface acres of water and 11,600 miles of shoreline, Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states in the nation for winter bald eagle viewing. Anywhere from 700 to 1,500 migrating eagles can be seen in the winter in Oklahoma, particularly around lakes, such as Kaw, Texoma, Tenkiller, Ft. Gibson, Grand, Canton and Great Salt Plains.
As lakes in the northern U.S. and Midwest freeze, eagles migrate south for the winter, searching for open water and food. In addition to migrant eagles that spend winters in Oklahoma, some bald eagles live in Oklahoma year-round. More than 120 bald eagles call Oklahoma home throughout the year, increasing from no known eagles in the state prior to 1990.
Public eagle watches are fun and easy ways to see our nation’s symbol and to interact with wildlife professionals, such as an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologist.
“These events are a great opportunity for families to catch glimpses of bald eagle before they begin their northward movement back to their breeding areas,” said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Department. “Additionally, the increase in eagle pairs that live in Oklahoma year-round is a sign that eagle recovery efforts were successful.”
These eagle watches are hosted by the Wildlife Department, state parks, lake management offices, national wildlife refuges and local Audobon Society chapters. Activities vary, but most eagle watch events are free. The Wildlife Department annually compiles a list of events to help Oklahomans discover where to view this majestic bird.
A full listing of public eagle watches with dates, details and contact information is available on the Wildlife Department’s website at wildlifedepartment.com
. This website also offers more information about bald eagles, including natural history, viewing tips and how Oklahomans can benefit bald eagles.
** Special Note: I am aware the photo isn’t an eagle, however it’s all I had on file…and it’s a great photo!
Source: The Wildside