January is National Bald Eagle Watch Month

Jill Staake

There’s nothing quite like spotting a bald eagle in the wild. I clearly remember my first sighting, which happened to be on a cruise ship in Alaska. As at stood at the prow of the ship, a magnificent eagle swooped down and hovered in front of me for a few magical seconds. I looked around for someone to share the sight with, but I was alone, and for that moment in time, it was just the eagle and me.

I’ve spotted them many times since, but the sightings are never casual. They always cause me to stop and stare, whether the eagle is soaring high overhead, squatting at the edge of our lake eating a fish, or even calmly sitting atop a light post in a parking lot. There’s just something about a bald eagle… and its hard to put into words.

January is National Bald Eagle Watch Month, and even though the month is almost over, there’s still plenty of good time to get out and look for these amazing creatures. SeEtta wrote a fantastic post about them back in December, so if you missed it, click  here to go back and check it out. Then take a look at this article from the National Wildlife Federation, which lists 10 great places around the country to see bald eagles. Check with local wildlife refuges in your area – they may be hosting bald eagle celebrations around this time of year too.

Jill's Tip: Distinguish bald eagles in flight by looking for completely brown bodies and white heads and tails. See SeEtta's post for more great photos.

Help us celebrate National Bald Eagle Watch Month by sharing your bald eagle stories in the comments below. What do you love most about these birds of prey? What was your most incredible viewing experience? Have you ever seen them nesting? We’d love to hear about it!

  1. Jen Y says

    I’d never seen a bald eagle in the wild until I moved to northwest Arkansas as a young bride. Now, every winter I look out my window in the morning & watch them fly low over the house heading to their favorite feeding place on our lake, sometimes even perching in my back yard. My family has a contest every year to see who spots the first bald eagle in the fall. We made it a rule that it has to be a mature bald eagle because in our enthusiasm we’ve claimed to see a juvenile soaring high when it wasn’t.

    I walk the trails on our woods & they have favorite trees they perch on. They’re so used to us walking by I can sometimes walk right under the tree! Watching them take off, swoop down & soar away at such a close range is a feeling I never tire of!

  2. says

    Just saw my first bald eagle in the wild last week! We were driving on country back roads just northeast of Tulsa, Ok and my eye caught one flying over a nearby field! I was so bummed not to have my camera on me!

  3. Susan Corbin says

    I was fortune enough to accompany three ‘Tennessee wildlife officers as they banded a baby eagle, and film the expereience. It was one of the most awesome adventures I’d ever been involved in as a photjournalist with the local newspaper. The parent birds flew in circles around the area as the officers removed the eaglet from the nest, banded it, took measurement and placed it carefully back in its nest. Moving to Tennessee nearly 20 years ago, I’ve managed to settle in an area where the northern eagles winter-over and have filmed them so close up you can see the veins in their eyes. Truly a most magnificent bird.

  4. Karen says

    Last year we had 3 eagles in our back yard on the river. It was beautiful to watch them fly and play on the edge of the ice. One was even tormented by crows that flew at him and got him to take flight, catch a fish, take the fish to the bank and eat it and left a few left overs for them. One sits 3 times a week in a tree to watch the river and, as my granddaughter said, “Look Grandma, it just took flight cause it knows we are home safe”..

  5. Debora Colthurst says

    I spotted one bald eagle today actually. The birds should be coming around here soon. I moved to Grand Haven Michigan about 4 years ago and live on the Grand River facing a wildlife reserve island. Every winter the bald eagles come up river and sit in the trees on the island and hunt fish. (I have counted 9 eagles in the trees at a time.) I have seen them come down and actually sit on the ice and hunt as well. I actually think they follow the seagulls! In the early spring they fly off, perhaps to Lake Michigan; which is only a few miles up river.
    They are very strong flyer and just so awesome to watch. Such a huge wing span. Love to watch them in the binoculars. I have some nice pictures too.

  6. Lois Nyman says

    This month as we were kayaking around Lake Elsinore in Southern California we spotted two large birds sitting on the flat part of the dike. As we paddled closer we saw the white heads and tails of two adult bald eagles, one eating something and the other watching. As we got closer the one without food took off and flew over our heads. A little later we saw him fly down in front of us trying to get a small duck swimming around in one of the inlets. The little duck watched and as the eagle dove the duck suddenly went straight down, the eagle flew over and the duck surfaced again. Then the eagle flew up toward the Ortega Mountains. When we came back around the dike the other eagle was gone too. We have seen them several times since and also one immature bald eagle.

  7. Judy Countryman says

    I spotted an Eagle sitting in a tree calling for its mate. It eventually came with a fish. It ate what it wanted and dropped it to the ground which its mate came down and finished it off. It was a sight to see and got numerous pictures. I’ll never forget it.

  8. Sharon says

    The coolest thing is when I lived in The Woodlands, Texas they had a couple of bald eagles that would come back every year to the same place and mate. When a company came and wanted to buy the property and develop it into homes part of the contract was that they had to build a 2 acre sanctuary for the eagles and they were not allowed to do construction during their mating season. Thank you for protecting our National Symbol!

  9. Judy Countryman says

    We watch a nesting site in New York and have witnessed the growing up of the babies. It’s really great to see how big they get and how protective the parents are while they are growing. Their nest are huge.

  10. Jane Portier says

    Ive been watching from an eagle cam set up over a nest here in north Carolina,watch for yourself at ustream.tv/channel/Jordan-lake-eagle cam . They have two babies one born 1/11 & the other one on 1/12 . It’s so awesome to watch mom & dad take care of them! I’ve never seen them in the wild so this is a. Treat for me! Bird lover .

  11. Chris Binder says

    Last week was in Sauk City, Wisconsin for eagle watching on the Wisconsin river. There were at least 2 dozen or so of immature and mature eagles. They are so awsome to watch as they catch the thermals and soar in the air and then in the next moment swoop down and gracefully catch a fish and fly to a perch to enjoy there snack. I will never get tired of watching these wonderous birds.

  12. Chris Hugo says

    My husband and I were driving south on I-5 between Albany and Eugene, Oregon yesterday, when I saw two Bald Eagles perched in a couple of trees right next to the interstate! This was in addition to seeing at least two dozen other different hawks all along the fifty miles we travelled—including Cooper’s, sharp-shinned and Swainson’s. Growing up as we did in the L.A. area, it is a real delight to see beautiful wild birds like this, right in our own back yard!

  13. says

    I have seen several eagles over the 10 yrs .since I moved to Va. The Norfolk Botonial Garden has a pair that had laid 22 eggs ,but since the tradegy of the Mother Eagle being hit by an airplane last April ,we didn’t know if the papa Eagle would find another female to mate with for the upcoming yr. He did and even tho the Eagle cam is off now ,we are certain that they will produce some eggs ! There is another pair that ranked 2nd and they are in Newport News Park.They have had 19 so far and frequent the Park for fish and other spots to sit and watch people .I Love the eagles and to watch them soar above your head is an awesome experience!!! We are blessed to be close to the Chesapeake bay and along the way we have alot of nesting Eagles that roam from Va . to NC and back to Maryland . What a sight to see!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Gary Friedrich says

    I went to the Bald Eagle Convention in Klamath Falls, Oregon. We arrived early, so we took a drive along the lower Klamath Lake to see if we could spot any eagles. We had a few sitings but it was getting dark and we were almost out of gas. My wife convinced me to head back to our motel and I began to turn around when I saw an eagle fly into a tree. I looked again and there were 60 to 70 bald eagles roosting in the tree. There were too many to get an exact count. That was a great day.

  15. Gary Friedrich says

    I was on a boat trip with several other tourists off the shore of Price Ruppert, British Columbia. We saw some Grizzley Bears and whales and at the end of the trip the Captain stopped the boat. The Naturalist began throwing small pieces of meat into the water. The bald eagles began flying out of the trees and picking up the meat on top of the water. It was like feeding the seagulls at the beach. There were about 30 bald eagles flying around our heads going for the meat.

  16. Gary Friedrich says

    I was on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We stayed in a B&B on our way to Comarant Island. That night there was a bald eagle roosting in a tree along the shore. The owner of the B&B told us about a place that made Sea Soil to the north. It was a combination of Salmon parts and wood chips. When we got there there were probably 30 Bald Eagles roosting around pile of Sea Soil and some eating from the pile. When we checked into another B&B on Commarant Island, there was a eagle nest in the back yard. What a great trip.

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