The return of Bald Eagles
This page is dedicated to those interested in the Bald Eagle's return to Indiana. Information on where and when to view them year round, their habits, links to informative web sites and photos will be posted here.
THE FIRST RULE WHEN OBSERVING EAGLES IS:
STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE
During the winter months, if you cause them to fly from their perch, you are making them burn up their energy at a time when their food source is scarce. Let's help them stay healthy.
There is nothing like watching Eagles playing in the thermals on a high pressure, blue sky, low wind, winter day or working the slopes on a windy day. They love to play and can teach us how to be better RC Sailplane pilots. Enjoy ...
Read posted sightings in 49 states and Canada
on Hope Rutledge's web site
Plus more information about Bald Eagles than you can imagine!
"Bald Eagles in the city"
Where and When I have seen Bald Eagles using US HWY 24 between Ft Wayne and Logansport, IN.
First, a big thank you to Jack Smith for telling me about the Bald Eagle's nest on the bank of the Wabash River fairly close to the Huntington dam back in the spring of 2008. I stopped there on my return home from my Wood Crafters 2008 event in May and have been hooked ever since. Jack is a long time RC Sailplane flying buddy, we all have a tendency to watch the skies, now more than ever.
National Serv-All Ponds ... Engle Road, Ft Wayne, IN.
Eagles frequent this perch during the fall migration hunting Coots, one of their favorite prey. If you are a good observer, you should be able to spot this small tree on the east side of the east pond as you drive by.
March 4th, 2011
First sighting this Spring at the Serv-all Ponds, perched in exactally the same spot in above photo. I was driving east, checking all the trees and stumps the Eagles return to hunt from, the ice is nearly completely melted and water birds were abundant. Not a good day for photos, 47 degrees, raining, low light.
This is probably the visiting Eagle's favorite perch tree as seen from Engle road at the rear of the East pond. I have seen up to three Eagles all at the same time in this tree. Usually they show up in pairs and if you only see one, that means the other is near by. My very first sighting was in the spring while driving on eastbound on Engle rd, an Eagle was skimming ( hunting ) the back side of both ponds, flying from west to east. Couldn't believe my eyes, fortunatley the Eagle was mature, so the all white head and tail feathers left no doubt I was an seeing Eagle on the Serv-Al ponds. Can you spot the Eagle in this photo?
There is a turn off of Engle rd, just before you reach the west pond that allows you to park on the Eagle Marsh property, not the entrance to Eagle Marsh. I did a very quick turn off when I spotted this Eagle perched on the eight foot tree stump located on the west edge of the west pond. I would have spooked him if I stopped on Engle rd closer to the bird. The photo is from the inside of my vehicle. If you stop on Engle rd to take photos, be prepared for one or two passer by's to toot their horn.
The Eagles are here because the Coots are here during fall migration. Early November is also a good time to view all the migrating birds at the Serve - All Ponds and the adjacent Eagle Marsh Preserve.
This is the best my cheap Camera could do with this low light shot of an Eagle on the far side of the west Pond. However, it will help you know what your looking for, being an Eagle watcher is not easy, but the white head and tail on mature Eagles is hard to miss.
Parked on the pull off along Engle road, just west of the Ponds, to view the sun set over Eagle Marsh. This is much safer than stopping along the road, drivers have lost all respect for others. If you never have been in an auto accident, I gotta tell you it really hurts .. for a long time. Watch out for the gravel trucks on Engle Rd., the drivers constantly exceed the speed limit, emergency braking distance on the huge trucks is forever. This is true of the texting drivers too.
Next Stop ... Salamonie Dam
No Eagles in this shot, but in the middle of the pic, where the sun is shinning on the tree tops left of the river is where you will see the Eagles or down on the water's edge.
You can stop on top of the Dam, close to the rail, but be careful. The cars passing by are looking for Eagles too.
This is what you may see from the top of Salamonie Dam. Eagles will mostly be seen along the left side of the tail water and way down stream all the way to the Wabash River.
Here is looking at you!
This is the Park viewable from the top of the dam, stop at the top of the dam before driving down to this Park. You may spook the Eagles from the left side of the tail water.
This is the "left" side of the tail water, viewed from the Park.
This is January, the Salamonie River ends here, meeting the Wabash. Photo taken from a bridge. Look closely, a flock of Great Blue Herons are in this photo. You can drive around to the other side of the Wabash River in this same proximity. The Wabash is loaded with Eagles, I have seen them from Hwy 24 starting at Huntington going west. Explore the roads along both sides of the River from Huntington to Peru and beyond.
This river may hold the largest number of Wintering Eagles. Their roosting sites are in the Dam's tail waters to the rivers end at the Wabash River. This photo appears to be marking the Eagles locations. Pick a day in January with a beautiful blue sky to search for the Eagles.
An added bonus ... Enjoy!
You can easly drive by an Eagle in a tree on a cloudy day, the blue sky and bright light makes there white head and tail very visible.
If you stay in your vehicle, rather than jump out and spook the Eagle away, you may be rewarded with seeing the bird swoop down into the river for a catch.
If you spook the bird away ... you may cause the bird's death from starvation.
In the center of this photo is an Eagle in a tree above the river. Remember to bring binoculars. These photos are taken from the road on the west side of the river, running right along the side the river. Part of the fun of Eagle viewing can be finding the roads that take you to the rivers edge.
Photo from the west side of the river.
The river is beautiful, the day was well spent, see if you can find this spot from the west side of the river, just down the road from the house above the cliff's.
There are two ways to approach the Wabash river from Ft Wayne. The quickest route is hwy 24, past the intersection of hwy 31 to the bridge over the river. Turn left almost immediately after cross the bridge. I have seen Eagles in the trees while crossing the bridge. In a very short distance you will cross the Ell River bridge where the above photo was taken. There is an Eagle in the tree drop, dead center of this photo. Continue on this road, it will dead end shortly. Turn right to the next dead end. Here you have the option of turning left and running along side the south side of the Wabash river. Or, turn right and then left at the next dead end, a very short distance and proceed to the next bridge where the photo below was taken.
One of Northern Indiana's hidden treasuries.
Come back in April !
The other side of the bridge!
Turn to the left to follow the Wabash river up stream. It will lead you back to the Missisinewa river. In January, I have seen brave Great Blue Heron's and beautiful Swans. This Swan was up stream a short distance. The road runs very close to the river's edge in many places, allowing taking photos from the vehicle.
There are active Eagle's nest at Lagro, Salamonie, Huntington and on the St Joe river near Leo. I wonder about down stream to Logansport and Lafayette.
Ray's Winter Eagle Hunt Trips
February 4th, 2011
Today, starting at 3:30 pm, from hwy 24 west and hwy 9 junction, I started counting Eagles starting two miles west. I stayed on hwy 24 until it crossed the Wabash on the west side of Peru, turned left and went to one of my favorite scenic spot, the old Mill. This portion of the trip produced six Eagle sitings. After leaving the Mill, I drove East on River Road, south side of the Wabash. From the Mill to the junction of the Missisinewa River and up the road on the West side of the river, my Eagle count for the day totaled 27. Had I continued up stream to the Dam and then visited the Salamonie and Huntington Dams, I'm guessing I would have seen an additional ten or more Eagles today. I saw two other cars on River Road west of Peru doing the same thing. The Swans are beautiful too.
Coming home today from Lafayette on 24, my wife and I saw a pair just east
of 31 on US 24.
Tom, Thanks for the great photo.
Mississinewa River view facing East below Dam from bridge.
The river at this bridge area never seems to freeze. It has been reported that more than a 150 roosting eagles have been spotted from this bridge at one time.
There are three Eagles roosting in the trees and one on final.
Yesterday was my day off from Sky Bench to go check out the Eagle winter migration population.
Posted February 13, 2014
Left home at 11am and returned 6 pm. Starting at Hwy 24 and the Wabash River, I back pedaled up stream so to speak, driving the West River Road East to the Mississinewa River from where it flows into the Wabash River up stream to the Mississinewa River Dam. I counted 61 Eagles before I stopped counting, the previous years highest count was 21. I guess this speaks of the winter were having. My home town of South Bend has received over 100 inches of snow so far this winter, I believe Ft Wayne is over 70 inches. Our local weather man announced a couple of days ago Ft Wayne was the coldest spot in the Nation on that day. This section of the Mississinewa River actually has a road on both sides of the river and is known for it's Seven Pillars. The attached Eagle photo is a first for me, I didn't know they could turn their head completely around. A local told me about a two year old Eagle nest near my starting point, I never would have seen it without his directions.
The best thing I can say about the health of the Eagles is the huge number of immature Eagles I saw.
The worst thing I can say I noticed was the extreme number of Geese, I'm sure they hamper the Eagles ability to feed in the rivers during the winter.
I did witness, from start to finish, a Mature Bald Eagle leap from very high in a tree, down over the river near my starting point, lower his talons and swoop up a fish and without hesitation contine the flight to the top of a very high tree on the opposite bank. And I was standing their with a very good movie camera in my hand, but too awe struck to use it. The scene lasted for maybe seven seconds, tree to tree.
It was officially confirmed, the Eagles Nest in Eagle Marsh Preserve, five minutes from my home, had baby Eagles this past summer, who knows, I may have seen them down on the Wabash yesterday.
Thanks again Jack for telling me at the 2008 Wood Crafters event about the Eagles nest at Huntington, that got me started on this Eagle thing I now have. I visited that nest on my return home from that Wood Crafters and have been hooked ever since.
Every February in Indiana, we have at least one 50 degree day ... keep repeating .. it may happen
Ray Woodys Forever WWW.Skybench.com
Sky Bench, Ft Wayne, IN 46804E Mail: SKYBENCH@COMCAST.NET