It looks to be a good season for bird watching near the Starved Rock Lock and Dam.

Saturday and Sunday are Bald Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park and the nearby Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. One of the reasons I enjoy living in La Salle County is the annual opportunity to see bald eagles perched in trees along the Illinois River and flying over the water looking for food. The raptors congregate near the lock and dam during this time of year because the water surface is usually frozen practically everywhere else.

The number of birds varies each year, depending on the weather. Warmer weather means less bald eagles near the lock and dam. But it has been a cold January and high temperatures will be in the teens this weekend.

Bald Eagle Watch Weekend always draws a large number of people, so I generally try to go eagle watching during the weeks preceding and following the event instead of going that weekend. That is one of the perks of living a short drive away from the state park – I can go there whenever my schedule allows and still see the bald eagles.

I went to Starved Rock earlier this week and the bald eagles were more active than I can ever remember seeing them. A volunteer inside the visitors center told me there were 45 bald eagles counted there that day. An article that ran today in one of the local newspapers says 70 bald eagles were spotted along the river last week. So with another cold snap coming tomorrow night, I’m sure there is going to be an abundance of bald eagles to be seen this weekend.

I shot this photo of four bald eagles at Starved Rock State Park earlier this week. Not bad for a 5x optical zoom camera, if you ask me.

I shot this photo of four bald eagles at Starved Rock State Park earlier this week. Not bad for a 5x optical zoom camera, if you ask me.

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