Armed with telephoto lenses and binoculars, observers scanned the trees looking to spot an eagle at Indiana’s largest documented bald eagle winter roost along the Mississinewa River in Miami County, during Mississinewa Lake’s annual Sunrise Eagle Watch. The event was hosted by the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center on Saturday, January 9, 2021.
According to Upper Wabash interpretive naturalist Lynnanne Dennison-Fager, eagles come to the area because of the dams, which continually release water throughout the winter. That makes it an ideal place for eagles, a protected species under state and federal laws, to fish and forage.
But eagles weren’t always a common sight in Indiana. Nearly 100 years went by without a documented eagle’s nest in the state. Legislation that banned chemicals allowed the water quality of rivers to improve. So in 1985, 73 eagle chicks were brought back to the state in hopes to re-populate the area. In 1991, the first successful nest since 1897 was documented. In 2008, eagles were removed from the endangered list in Indiana. And last year, there were over 350 documented nests.
Upcoming eagle watches are the afternoons of Feb. 13, 20 and 27. Call the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center at 260-468-2127 to register.
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