Thursday, December 16, 2010

American Eagle

My wife was rotating with a Doctor here in Des Moines one month, and during some long day of seeing patients, he started telling her about some pictures he took of local wildlife. When he showed her those pictures, she was amazed to find these stunning snapshots of bald eagles. Having seen our country’s famous bird in Yellowstone a few years ago, we were surprised to learn that they can also be found in Iowa. How wickedly awesome is that?

Apparently they come here during the cold winter months to nest. They tend to nest along the rivers, especially near dams as this is a natural congregation place for their food source - fish. Pella is a great location for this, just off the dam on the Red Rock Lake.
After we learned about this, we took a trip there ourselves. The dam is operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, and they have a station on one side the dam. They gave us all kinds of information on where to go to see the birds. We were a little early to see many eagles yet, but we might see some, and we’d also see pelicans. Seriously, pelicans in Iowa? We were again floored.

Grab some binoculars and head over to the broken bridge. This is the best spot. We were lucky and saw one bird, but January is the best month, and you can spot over 40 if you come in the early morning. The best part of eagle watching in Pella is stopping in town afterwards for a nice cup of coffee, and a Dutch letter at one of the amazing Dutch bakeries! Enjoy!!

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