After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing across the nation.
Fortunately, Woods Canyon Lake hosts one of the most stable bald eagle environments in the state of Arizona. We visited the area for camping and I was able to capture some eagle images of an adult pair with two chicks in the nest. Some were taken while in a boat, but you take what you get with a bird that special!
If you plan to visit the eagle there be aware that a portion of the lake is closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline is closed to foot entry from April 1 through Aug. 31. Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District, (928) 535-7300.
Some basic rules:
Enjoy bald eagles from outside the closures, which are marked with signs and/or buoys. Watch from a distance using a spotting scope, binoculars or telephoto camera lens.
Anyone approached by a nestwatcher and asked to cease an activity or leave a closed area should comply. A few good places to see bald eagles without disturbing them (during December and January) are at Lake Mary and Mormon Lake near Flagstaff or on the Verde Canyon Train in Clarkdale.
Bald eagles protecting an active nest will let you know if you are too close. If a bald eagle is vocalizing and circling the area frantically, you are too close and need to leave the area quickly. Bald eagles incubating eggs or brooding small young should never be off the nest for more than 15 minutes.
Pilots should maintain the FAA-recommended 2,000-foot AGL advisory when flying over bald eagle habitat such as along the riparian areas of the Salt and Verde Rivers and Lakes such as Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt lake, and Alamo Lake. These areas are designated on the Phoenix Sectional Aeronautical Map. Special brochures for pilots regarding this advisory can be obtained by calling the Arizona Department of Transportation or the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s nongame branch, (623) 236-7506.
Help from anglers is especially needed. Fishing line and tackle have killed two nestlings and been found in two-thirds of all bald eagle nests in the state. Every year biologists remove these lethal hazards from nests and/or entangled nestlings. Discard of any fishing line properly in specially-marked recycling containers or at fishing stores. Also, use fresh line that isn’t old and brittle. Use the correct test line for the fish you are trying to catch. Also, do not cut the line when an undesirable fish is caught and return it to the water with the hook and line attached.More information on seasonal bald eagle breeding area closures can be found on Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee (SWBEMC) website.
The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle. Wikipedia
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Wingspan: 5.9 – 7.5 ft.
Conservation status: Least Concern (Population increasing)
Mass: 6.6 – 14 lbs
Lifespan: 20 years (In the wild)
Higher classification: Sea eagle
Speed: 75 – 99 mph (Diving)