Archive for Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bald eagles fly in for winter vacation

December 12, 2006


Grab your binoculars.

The majestic bald eagles are in town, and more are on the way to this favorite winter-feeding destination.

"We're starting to get the ducks coming in, and that means the birds will be coming with them," said Bunnie Watkins, park manager at Perry Lake.

Each year, more than 2,500 eagles vacation in Kansas, many concentrated around the lakes and rivers in the northeast part of the state.

They hail from the northern states and Canada, then head south following migrating waterfowl and searching for waters to snatch fish.

Kansas also is home to nesting eagles that stay year-round. This year, 20 nests fledged 35 young eagles, said Mike Watkins, wildlife biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

When viewed in person, the bird - America's national symbol - is quite a sight.

The adult female's wingspan spreads up to 7.5 feet, a bit larger than the male's.

"Their talons are incredibly large - as large as a man's hand," Bunnie Watkins said. "Each of the claws would be easily an inch, an inch and a half. It would act like a razor blade, so when they grab something, it just slices right through that fish or that duck." Eagle Cam

They sail through the skies at 40 mph, but they can accelerate to more than 100 mph on the dive for prey.

The early birds come in the beginning of November and generally head back north in March.

Bird watchers point to Clinton Lake, Perry Lake and the Kansas River as natural spots to find eagles. The birds can be found on the river near City Hall.

Ron Wolf, a board member of the Jayhawk Audubon Society, said the scenic drive that runs south of the Kansas River between Lawrence and Lecompton is a good place to spot eagles.

The eagles also will be the stars of the annual Eagles Day organized by the Jayhawk Audubon Society. This year's event will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21 at Free State High School and will include displays, hands-on activities and a live eagle presentation.

Watchers may spot bands on the birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applies the bands, Mike Watkins said.

"In Kansas, they try to band as many of the juveniles as possible by climbing the nest tree when the young are about 6 weeks of age," he said.

Birds banded in Kansas get a unique purple-and-white band that allows watchers to identify the bird without having to trap it.


brookcreeker 11 years, 5 months ago

hey ljw - your captions on the eagle photos are terrible. some are confusing and others contain some hideous grammar. my fav: "their" instead of "there" AND "they're". classic ljw.

Eric Neuteboom 11 years, 5 months ago

Good point Brook. Especially when one considers this article follows the article titled "Measuring Success" which refers to the good reading scores achieved by area students. Either the copy writers/editors are from Missouri, or someone needs to actually pay attention to what is being written. For a publication that receives such acclaim (especially their online products), hard to justify such poor writing.

"The Lawrence Journal World: We Right Good"

Kathy Theis-Getto 11 years, 5 months ago

Eagles = Good medicine

Beautiful creatures!

Sean Rudisel 11 years, 5 months ago

Does anybody know if there will be an Eagle Cam this year for the birds that are pearching over Abe and Jake's?

Steve Mechels 11 years, 5 months ago

"Does anybody know if there will be an Eagle Cam this year for the birds that are pearching over Abe and Jake's?"

Yes, it is up and running at

Ken Miller 11 years, 5 months ago

How often does the eaglecam refresh? Looks to me that the last refresh came 90 minutes ago.

Chris Golledge 11 years, 5 months ago

Brookmaster and Coach, You might want to brush up on your own grammar skills before being so critical.

"A pair of bald eagles help construct their nest."

'Their' is a plural, possesive pronoun; its use here is appropriate as it indicates that the nest belongs to the eagles.

"A pair of eagles sits in a nest they're building in Douglas County."

'They're' is a contraction of 'they are'; again, this usage is correct. Even the use of verb 'sits' instead of 'sit' is acceptable because the subject is 'pair', which can be singular.

b_asinbeer 11 years, 5 months ago're right, I couldn't find anything. Good job.

kmat 11 years, 5 months ago

I live near the river and would like to make one comment about people that come to watch the eagles.

Please remember to be quiet and not disturb them. I don't know how many times I have been down there, camera mounted and ready, and noisy families come down, kids screaming, everyone loud and obnoxious and they drive the birds down river. This happens almost everytime I see more than a few eagles down there.

Respect the birds and respect those of us that come to observe and photograph them. The more this happens, they will keep staying down river where it is hard to watch them. By late last winter, very few would even hang around the damn because of the people.

countrygirl 11 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket---do you know something about the stolen pot from Wichita??

Eric Neuteboom 11 years, 5 months ago

First photo, first caption:

"A banded bald eagle sits is a cottonwood tree in Douglas County on Sunday morning."

You're right, absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence at all. Nope. It's perfect.

Second photo, second caption:

"This lone eagle sits in a nest under construction in Douglas County. T"

Anybody else wonder what the next sentence is going to be that starts with that lonely "T?"

Third photo, third caption:

"This eagle carried large sticks some times 7 to 8 foot in length to help sturdy up the nest."

Perhaps some of those third and fourth graders could introduce the caption writer to commas, or dare I suggest it, parentheses. Maybe they could even help them make a distinction between how to use "foot" or "feet."

I could go on, but I'd just be getting mean...

brookcreeker 11 years, 5 months ago

cg- no kidding. that was my point. the editors changed the mistakes. NOW the captions are correct. or, should i say, THEY'RE correct. hee hee.

Angie Dick 11 years, 5 months ago

I my self thank these birds are very pretty, I have at least 2 or 3 nesting spots in my trees around my house but I do have to say, I have lost atleast 3 small animals. not blaiming the bald eagle but ya never know??!!

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