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Bald Eagles Slow To Arrive At Metro East Stopover

Brett Blume
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(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

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ALTON, Ill. (KMOX) –  The eagles have landed in and around Alton again this winter – but in fewer numbers.

It’s more than just a concern for frustrated bird watchers.  A large chunk of the winter tourism season in the Metro East is based on the annual arrival of migrating bald eagles.

“What happens is the waters in the far north freeze and as they do, it forces the eagles to travel farther south,” explains Scott Isringhausen, site interpreter for Pere Marquette State Park and an eagle guide. “This is a great stop-over place.”

That hasn’t changed, of course.

Isringhausen says the eagles like to perch high up on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, then swoop down and pluck fish from the frigid waters to their hearts’ content.

But with the slow start to winter, bald eagles have less incentive to make the arduous journey south, leaving a lot of binocular-weilding eagle-spotters frustrated.

But fear not, Isringhausen says – the eagles stick around through the early part of March and more should be arriving very soon.

“We’re seeing between twenty and thirty (eagles) right now,” he tells KMOX News. “I think when it gets colder this weekend the numbers will definitely increase.”

You can learn more about Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Days and make reservations to take a guided tour of eagle hotspots by calling the Visitor Center at (618) 786-3323 or logging onto http://dnr.state.il.us.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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