Bald Eagles Make Themselves at Home Near Arkansas Lakes
As the temperatures across the region drop each fall season, the American bald eagles, like many other birds, migrate south in search of warmer weather.
Karen Westcamp-Johnson, Education Program Specialist for the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, says the bald eagle is the largest bird found in the state. Female bald eagles are slightly larger than males, standing about three feet tall with a wingspan up to seven and a half feet wide.
Josh Lovan took his three children and some of their friends on a boat in Paris City Lake recently to see the bald eagles that have made the area home.
“Usually you see like a pair or two,” said Lovan. “To see 30, and it’s been reported that there’s been more than 40 at a time being spotted there, it’s just a really unique experience.”
Westcamp-Johnson says bald eagles will build a nest near a large body of water, and they’ll return to the nest each year.
Lovan’s group saw a large nest during their trip to Paris City Lake. “You could probably fit a small Volkswagen car inside the nest.”
Earlier this month, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission investigated the deaths of three bald eagles in the area. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits anyone from pursuing, shooting, poisoning, wounding and killing bald eagles.
“It’s up to $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison, and it is considered a felony,” said Westcamp-Johnson.
For the eagles that were reportedly poisoned, she says since eagles eat other animals and carrion (dead and decaying flesh), there may be a legitimate explanation.
“There’s a chance that they ate something like a duck or a chicken or something else that got into poison,” she said.
The Interior Department removed the American bald eagle from the endangered species list on June 28, 2007.