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Eagle Watch

February 10, 2013

The Young Birders

Seven Iowa kids went eagle watching on a windy winter afternoon. It was the first outing of the new Jefferson County Young Birders Club.

Bald eagles along the Des Moines River put on a good show. One person counted 39 eagles. Most of the eagles were adults, with white heads and tails.

The eagles' nest

At the first stop on Eagle Drive, Jefferson County Park naturalist Therese Cummiskey pointed out a bald eagle's nest across the river. Everyone got good looks through spotting scopes. here Drake and Jacob wait their turn as Dalton uses the scope to view the eagles' nest.

Bald Eagle Nest

Where the Young Birders went birding

The route followed the Des Moines River downstream along Eagle Drive, from Douds to Keosauqua, Iowa. The trip lasted about three hours.

Des Moines River

Eagles roosted in the trees on both sides of the river and caught fish in the water. The birders also watched many Canada geese and one cackling goose.

What else the Young Birders found

Bald Eagle with FishBarred Owl: 1
Red-tailed Hawk: 2
Canada Goose: 160+
Cackling Goose: 1
Domestic Goose (with the other geese): 1
Mallard: 8
Lesser Scaup: 1
Common Merganser: 1 (female)
Herring Gull: 1
Belted Kingfisher: 1
American Robin: 1
American Crow: 16
Horned Lark: 5

A Fulfilling Conclusion

After about three hours of birding, the group reached Keosauqua, and everyone was feeling a little hungry. There was time for a stop at Misty's in Keosauqua for treats.

After the ice cream, Lily (age 8) looked through the pictures she'd taken and showed them to her friend, Autumn. Below is Lily's photo of a bald eagle taking off from its perch high in a tree.

Lily and Autumn
Bald Eagle Nest

Binoculars for everyone

When you're birdwatching, everyone really needs to be holding a pair of binoculars.

The Young BirdersThe Jefferson County Conservation Board has a bunch of nice binoculars for the use of the Young Birders and other groups.

They are Eagle Optics Energy binoculars. You can spot them a mile off, because they're bright yellow. Here some of the Young Birders are using their own binoculars, and some are using the Energys. Thanks to Megan Earsley for taking this photo with the yellow binoculars.

And very great thanks to Therese Cummiskey, of Fairfield, Iowa, for instigating the Young Birders Club and for organizing this Eagle Watch field trip.

Here is Therese, watching eagles with Dalton.

Therese Cummiskey and Dalton

— © 2013 Diane Porter



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