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While bald eagles are unscrupulous when it comes to finding meals, they remain faithful mates. At age 4 or 5, an eagle reaches sexual maturity and shifts its focus to both finding a mate and raising offspring. The typical courtship ritual includes aerial somersaults during which pair whirls through air with locked talons. Eagles can live up to 30 years in wild, and they mate for life.
Producer Gary Cooley of Ozark Mountains Website, Inc., named His Place Resort on White River just outside of Mountain Home as premier place for watching an eagle pair that returns each year to nest.
"These eagles are fascinating to watch. The male brings sticks and other nesting materials to female, who promptly throws them away. Then bickering starts between two birds," he shared.
The peak months for eagle watching are December through February, and January is Eagle Awareness Month in Arkansas. When embarking on an eagle-watching expedition, keep following in mind:
Get out early. Eagles soar in thermal updrafts, so best time to see one in air is when temperature is rising during mid- to late morning.
Stay behind a blind. A tree or car acts as an effective blind. Eagles sometimes are shy creatures. People walking around or towards a perched eagle will chase it off its roost, and flying away drains energy needed by eagle to survive in winter temperatures.
Look near waterways. For most part, eagles stay 3/4 of way up trees while fishing from banks. Their white heads and tail feathers are easy to see against trees along shore. Many resorts or marinas on lakes have pontoon boats for rent.
Look into a guided tour. There are many half- or full-day tours with expert guides available. For inexperienced boat operators, running river in low water can be very challenging.
Report any nest sightings. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission monitors all eagle nests in state as part of nationwide conservation efforts. Anyone who observes a bald eagle nest is asked to report it to AGFC’s Wildlife Management Division at 877.873.4651.
Be mindful of law. Possession of an eagle feather or other body part is a felony with a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment. Exceptions apply only to certain Native American tribes with appropriate legal documents.
Use your resources. Go to for a complete list of eagle-watching tours and eagle-related events, including DeGray’s 25th Annual Eagles Et Cetera Festival to be held on January 23-25, 2004.
For information on more eagle-watching opportunities, contact your local park rangers or naturalists.
Jeannette Balleza is Co-Owner of Vulcan Creative, a creative agency specializing in identity with integrity. Vulcan Creative consults with clients on communication strategy and concept development and refinement for graphic design and web site development projects. Go to http://www.vulcancreative.com for more information and to request a free initial consultation.