The gift of bird watching: Bald eagles

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An adult bald eagle flies with immature eagle behind. Photo by Marlen Kemmet

Each week the Dallas County Conservation Board will spotlight a bird that you should be able to see with little effort in our area.

Winter is a great time to start this hobby because birds are concentrated at feeders and easier to find on the snow-covered landscape.

This week’s birding gift is the bald eagle.

This large, toddler-sized bird has a dark body, white head and white tail and bright yellow bill, which makes them easy to identify. However, younger birds have black and white mottling on the head and tail.

People often confuse the bald eagle with the golden eagle. The bald eagle’s call is not what you might expect.

Bald eagles are found all over Dallas County, especially near open water. The Raccoon River in Adel and Redfield are both excellent sites for viewing.

Dead deer from road strikes also provide viewing opportunities. Lead shot has had a profoundly harmful impact on bald eagles and other birds.

Artist Charley Harper has created beautifully graphic artwork featuring many birds.

With the arrival of the New Year, many people are looking for tools to help with mental health. The Audubon Magazine has a great article by Jill U. Adams about the benefits of bird watching.

Mike Havlik is a naturalist in the Dallas County Conservation Department.

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