Where to Look for Bald Eagles

Most major river systems in Wisconsin are good eagle-watching spots

Thanks to the recovery of bald eagle populations in recent decades, birders no longer need to stash away their spotting scopes when the snows of winter come. In fact, prime viewing of these large raptors can occur throughout southern Wisconsin.

As they journey from breeding grounds in Canada and the northern Great Lakes, bald eagles find food and shelter along wooded Wisconsin rivers. Large trees provide shelter from wind and snow. And small pockets of open water—especially near dams—make for prime fishing grounds.

A drive along any of the state’s major river systems—the Rock, Wisconsin, Fox or Mississippi—will provide good “drive-by” eagle-watching. To make a day of it, check out Sauk Prairie’s eagle watching weekend on January 17–18. Mississippi River venues include Dubuque, Cassville and Prairie du Chien. The 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukana privides good viewing on the Fox River.

John Motoviloff is a cook, author and outdoorsman.

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