Logan County is a glorious place to view these special residents of the North Sterling State Park (located just northwest of Sterling).
Every year, folks visiting the area can view these majestic birds in their natural habitat.
The bald eagle – so named because of its white head – is found only in North America and is one of the continent’s largest birds of prey. Here in the United States, the bald eagle is recognized as the country’s national symbol, a distinction it has held since 1782. Young bald eagles are dark brown in color when they fledge the nest at about 12 weeks of age. Their head and tail feathers turn predominantly white in the fourth or fifth year. Adult males weigh about eight to nine pounds. Females are slightly larger, about 10 to 14 pounds. The birds’ length is 31 to 37 inches with a wingspan of six to 7.5 feet.
Bald eagles are seldom seen far from water – large rivers, lakes and seacoasts. In Colorado they are often found near reservoirs like North Sterling State Park and along major rivers (South Platte, Arkansas, Rio Grande, Yampa, Colorado) during both the summer and winter. During the breeding season bald eagles defend territories and most frequently can be found nesting in large cottonwood trees. In the winter bald eagles communally roost in large trees for warmth and protection.
In addition to fish (self-caught or stolen from other birds), bald eagles eat sick and injured waterfowl, muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs and often eat carrion and road-killed animals.
Nests can be seven to eight feet across, usually in tall trees high above the ground. Bald eagles often choose dead limbs in tall trees, possibly because their view is not obstructed by foliage. Nests are often found near water. Female lays one to three eggs, which are dull white. The incubation period is about 35 days, with both the male and female keeping the eggs warm.
For more information about eagle viewing and other birding activities, click HERE.
(Thanks to Logan County resident, Lee Birgenheier, for the photos.)