Eagle Allure

By Michael Duffy, Assistant Park Manager Kentucky Dam State Resort Park

When it comes to bird watching there are certain goals that every birder dreams of accomplishing; including spotting a difficult warbler or even something much larger and majestic.  There is an allure to spotting an apex predator either in a zoo or the field.  One of the great apex predator bird watchers quest to gaze upon is the Bald Eagle.  After seeing a Bald Eagle for the first time, the desire to see one again and again suddenly makes perfect sense.

Being our national symbol the sight of a Bald Eagle has an immediate effect upon people.  A connection to our surroundings and the splendor of this majestic apex predator flying through the sky causes one to pause and focus on the wonders of nature.  The power and energy that is present in a Bald Eagle is self evident and creates that allure that keeps people ever on the lookout for another glimpse.

As the rivers and lakes in the north freeze, eagles migrate south in search of fresh food sources and flowing waters.  This is where Kentucky Dam and Land Between the Lakes provide a perfect habitat for migrating eagles.  The natural wilderness of Land Between the Lakes and the abundant fish in Kentucky Lake provide an ideal winter habitat for eagles looking for a winter food source.  Bird watchers have long keyed into this information and have started making trips to the area with the goal of viewing these amazing animals.  Many enthusiasts make this an annual event and several local State Parks have started offering specific eagle touring packages.

Ticket prices for the weekend tours range from $25 to $50 a person. Most tours last from 3 to 3½ hours. The weekend tours include evening programs on Friday and Saturday.

The parks, phone numbers, and dates for the 2015 Eagle Watch Weekends are:

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (800-325-0146): Jan. 9-11. Yacht tours and van tours to the Ballard Wildlife Management Area.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park (800-325-1708): Jan. 23-25. Yacht tours and van tours to the Land Between the Lakes.

Kenlake State Resort Park (800-325-0143): Feb. 6-8. Yacht tours only.

Guests should bring warm clothes, rain gear, and binoculars. These trips can take place under extreme weather conditions. The resorts offer lodges, cottages, and restaurants. Registration is required for the Eagle Watch Weekends.

Call the parks for registration, details, and fee information or visit: www.parks.ky.gov The Eagle Watch Weekends at Kentucky Dam Village, Lake Barkley and Kenlake will include an option to view eagles from the CQ Princess, a 96-foot yacht. Guests can view eagles from inside the CQ Princess or from outer decks.