River Currents

by Free Speech on January 12, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI
by Gary Engberg

Bald Eagle Watching Days and Keep Those Feeders Full

Wisconsin River Eagle soaring near a local farm.

This coming Friday evening and Saturday, January 15 & 16, 2010 is the 23rd Sauk Prairie Bald Eagle Watching Days in the twin cities of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Most of activities with the exception of the Eagle Watching Bus Tours take place at the River Arts Center at the Sauk Prairie High School at 105 9th Street. During the Bald Eagle Days, the bus tours leave every hour on the hour from the high school.

During the rest of January and February, the eagle tours leave from the Cedarberry Inn on Highway 12 (Phillips Street) at 10:00 am. The tour costs $5.00, lasts about one hour going to good locations for viewing eagles, has guides from the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council to answer questions, and make the tour educational and informative. To reserve a spot, which is suggested, call the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-800- 68EAGLE.

Bald Eagle Days has something for the entire family and is a wonderful way for families to see these majestic eagles and learn about them and the many other raptors that call Wisconsin home. Friday evening, David Stokes, a wildlife humorist, will present a program called “Fun with Animals” which has been a success for years. This family program starts at 7:00 pm in the River Arts Center.

Saturday, January 16th, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council (FBEC) will have exhibits and displays in the River Arts Center Lobby beginning at 8:00 am. Beginning at 9:00 am, Kelly Kearns of the DNR Endangered Resources Department will have many diverse activities for children that will be open till 1:00 pm in the River Arts Center Gallery. Local photographer, Bill Pielsticker, will give tips on wildlife photography in the River Arts Center starting at 9:00 am. Throughout the day, there will also be wine-tasting at the Wollersheim Winery of their new “Eagle White” wine. The winery is located just across the Wisconsin River and only a few minutes out of town.

There are three other programs that are also free, but the reserved seats must be picked up at the River Arts Center ticket booth. A program titled, “Eagles in Wisconsin and Local Conservation Efforts” will be given by the Pat Manthey of the D.N.R. Bureau of Endangered Species and Jeb Barzen of the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council from 10:00 to 10:45 am. The Raptor Center from the University of Minnesota will then give a presentation on “Raptors in Wisconsin” from 11:00 am to noon in the River Arts Center. The Raptor Center will then have a “Meet and Greet” show with their many raptors from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm in the River Arts Center Gallery. Saturday afternoon, Stokes will repeat his “Fun with Animals” show and the Live Birds of Prey show will also be repeated by the Raptor Center at the River Arts Center from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

There are many different and diverse activities this coming weekend for the entire family. Children have many hands-on activities that the DNR experts do that educate and entertain the kids about bald eagles and the numerous other raptors. The Raptor Group brings many raptors to this event (hawks, owls, eagles) that most people never get a chance to see up close and personal. The Raptor Group brings its own qualified personnel that are knowledgeable and can answer any question you may have on these birds and others.

Wisconsin River eagles feeding

This is a great way to spend a Saturday in the Wisconsin outdoors. Young and old can share in the beauty of our national symbol and also learn valuable tips and information on these magnificent birds. This is a fun and informative way to spend a Saturday with family and friends especially on a cold winter day.

There also has been an influx of eagles during the past few weeks with eagle numbers doubling to over 100 eagles at the last roost count. There should be many eagles for viewing, but remember to stay in your vehicle unless you are in a tour bus. Eagles have to expend energy to fly when scared off their roosts and this is not something that is wanted during the cold of winter. Use your car or truck as a blind for taking pictures. The last thing one wants to do is to scare an eagle off their roost tree in winter.

Keep Your Bird Feeders Full

The extreme cold and snow that we’ve had in December and January has made things tough on the birds that winter in Wisconsin. Every year, I amazed at the number of birds that somehow withstand the cold and snow. I now feed birds year-round, but the winter is when birds need some “help” to carry them through the tough months.

If you can afford it, keep your feeders full year-round. The worst thing to do is to start feeding and then stop. Birds will learn to depend on your feeding, so keep feeding these amazing creatures. Do a little research, buy a bird book for our area, talk to some knowledgeable people, buy a few good feeders, and keep a diary of the birds that you see and you’ll be well on your way to helping the birds and also finding an entertaining hobby for the winter. Write down the various birds that you see in your diary and learn to identify them. Besides helping the birds survive, you’ll be learning something new, and maybe finding a new way to occupy yourself during the cold months of winter. You will be amazed at the number and different species of birds that will visit your feeders Another activity that you can learn from bird feeding is nature photography. You’ll be amazed at the great photos that you can take in your own yard with the new digital camera’s that are now being produced at a reasonable price. Winters in Wisconsin can be brutal, but finding a new hobby and knowing that you’re helping birds survive is something that brings a glow to anyone’s heart!

There are many local sponsors who all should be thanked, but Alliant Energy, the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, and the Wisconsin DNR are the main sponsors. Go to the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council website at www.ferrybluffeaglecouncil.org for all the sponsors and any more information that you may need. While at the FBEC website, why not join this group?

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