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Warmer winter calls for fewer eagles in the QC this season

The warm winter weather has forced eagles to stay north, so experts say you’ll see less birds this weekend.

DAVENPORT, Iowa – With warmer winter weather this year, wildlife experts say bald eagles may be tough to spot.  They are usually seen feeding near locks and dams at this time when the rest of the river is frozen.

“This year it’s been a warm winter, so the water is not frozen,” says Ryan Anthony, a migratory bird biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

With the Mississippi still not frozen the eagles have no reason to come down south.

“Usually they come down because the water freezes over,” says Anthony. “And they don’t have access to fish, and they can’t eat anything, so they come down south here.”

Last year, Anthony says the Quad City area saw 1,500 eagles at this time.  This year he expects to see less than half that – about 400 to 500. So, to view one of the beauties it may take some work for a glimpse.

“There’s not going to be any concentrated areas,” Anthony says. “There’s eagles locally, but they are going to be spread out so if you want to go look at them, you’d have to drive around a little bit.”

Biologists say in years past we’ve seen up to 5,000 eagles this weekend. They suggest Sylvan Island, Credit Island, and Nahant Marsh as all prime spots to see the eagles.