This past two weeks have been very interesting as far as scouting Bald Eagles along the Upper Mississippi River Valley and it’s tributaries.  The birds have started their southern migration for the season, and have good numbers, but only in select ares.  This is because more of the abundant food sources they prey on are still moving about in the fields and prairies that cover the Midwestern landscape.   This means that the Bald Eagles are not congregating along the rivers like they normally do.  DSC09234

Part of this is due to lack of snowfall, and the other part because of unseasonable warm weather in the region so far this late fall and early winter.  The lack of snowfall has allowed other prey sources like rabbits, mice,  and smaller birds to stay active much longer than normal.  This means that the birds have stayed out in forests and prairie hunting grounds.  The warmer weather has allowed the rivers to stay completely ice free, which means that even in “normal spots” that the bald eagles congregate each winter, they are spread out as there is much more open water.  DSC09235

One of the few gathering areas this season so far has been Sunset Marina, Located in Rock Island Illinois.  Numbers for the past two weeks have averaged between 12-15 Adults, and between 15-25 Juveniles, depending on temperature and wind speed.  Today, there were about 12 active birds, and about 8-10 “perched” birds.

The one thing they were not doing much was fishing.  Lots of looking, but not much acting on it.  DSC09289

There was a pretty decent gathering of photogs out today at the site, including my friends, Matt, Julie, Anthony, and Julie’s son, and a few other new acquaintances.  It was a good afternoon of conversing, and I look forward to more in the coming months!

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