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Categorized | Outdoors

Break out your binoculars for bald eagles

Break out your binoculars for bald eagles

The bald eagle is an iconic bird that holds special meaning for many Michiganders. They can be found in the state year-round, and, if you didn’t spot any this summer, you still might see one of these handsome birds in the coming winter months. Keep your binoculars handy; bald eagles can be seen congregating around open bodies of water hunting for fish. You can use the eBird website to see where eagles have been spotted.

Eagles, while still protected by state and federal laws, have recovered in number and it’s not uncommon to see them throughout Michigan. Bald eagles—white head and tail feathers are striking features, but did you know that the birds don’t get these white feathers until they’re 5 years old? This is also when they start looking for a mate. Immature eagles are all brown with white mottling.

During the early spring and summer months you might be fortunate enough to see an eagle nest site and get to watch the adults raise their chicks. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were almost 850 bald eagle nests in Michigan in 2019! Nests were found in 81 of the state’s 83 counties.

Michigan is also lucky to get occasional visits from one of North America’s other eagles—the golden eagle. While golden eagles don’t nest in Michigan, they can be seen moving through the state during fall and spring migrations. These large, majestic birds are an exciting sight, so break out your binoculars and keep your eyes trained on the sky.

The All About Birds site by The Cornell Lab has helpful information and bird identification tips, including for the bald eagle and golden eagle.

Additional tips and information about wildlife viewing in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

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