2013 is turning out to be a great year for eagle watching at Quartz Mountain Nature Park! The weather has been nice - not too cold for people, and not too hot for eagles, and no storms, so there are plenty of eagles to watch.
In fact, there are more Bald Eagles at Lake Altus –Lugert than usual. Thirty two Bald Eagles were recently observed while most years only between four and 10 eagles are sighted. Bald eagles are in the “sea eagle” or “fish eagle” family. “Sea eagles” are large fish-eating birds. Because the majority of their diet is fish based, these large birds are found along lakes, rivers and the sea.
The recent golden algae bloom caused a fish kill at Lake Altus –Lugert. The Bald Eagles are just one species of bird that are feasting on the dead fish. Ring-billed and Herring Gulls are also being observed in greater numbers than usual.
So where can you see the Bald Eagles? Many can be found in the larger trees overlooking the lake. Others may be found eating off the beach itself. With the predominant westerly winds, more fish seem to have washed ashore on the east side of the lake and more eagles are being spotted on there on the eastern shore.
Please remember, Bald Eagles are federally protected birds. It is illegal to disturb them, whether they are roosting, feeding or nesting. This is the reason the “Eagles Roost ATV Area” closes every fall. Observe from a distance. Binoculars, spotting scope or a camera with a good zoom option should be used.
The Bald Eagles usually depart Quartz Mountain Nature Park in late February or early March. If it stays warm as the extended forecasts predict, they may be leaving is just a couple weeks. Why not take the opportunity to see so many of our national symbol right in your own backyard? There is one more set of scheduled Eagle Watches: February 2 & 3. All the details can be found at www.quartzmountain.org.