Keokuk, IA – Keokuk held its 27th annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days over the weekend.
The weather was perfect for eagle watching.
It was about 23 degrees, though a slight wind made it feel like it was 13 degrees. There was no snow or rain and the sun was peeking through the clouds.
People came from throughout the Midwest to watch the bald eagles swoop down and pull fish out of the Mississippi River.
Pat Schlarbaum is with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Schlarbaum says most of the eagles in the Keokuk area are visiting from Canada, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He says they travel south to find open water for fishing.
Schlarbaum says there are some locals mixed in. He says Iowa has more than 200 nesting pairs, including three that call Lee County home.
That's a far cry from the 1960's. Schlarbaum says, at that time, there were about 400 nesting pairs in the continental United States.
The comeback is linked to the bald eagle's inclusion on the endangered species list, the banning of the chemical DDT, the creation of protected roosting areas, and people just leaving them alone.
You can hear Jason Parrott's report on Keokuk's Bald Eagle Appreciation Days by clicking the audio link above.