The American Bald Eagle is a conservation success story, and January brings an opportunity to see our national bird enjoying life in Alabama’s Lake Guntersville State Park.
Sixty years ago, the eagle was in trouble. The last nest in Alabama had been documented in 1962.
Thanks to a determined restoration effort, the eagle’s fortunes improved, and nests began to be observed in Alabama again starting in 1991. Today, visitors to Lake Guntersville can see a mix of resident and visiting eagles, all making themselves at home on the lake for the winter months.
The park’s Eagle Awareness Weekends, which this year take place January 20-22, January 27-29, and February 3-5, offer an opportunity to see eagles in their natural habitat and to learn more about them through live bird demonstrations, informative presentations by noted speakers, and guided field trips.
Back in the mid-1980s when Eagle Awareness programs first started at Lake Guntersville State Park, the only eagles on view were those from other states come to Alabama to spend the winter months fishing in the deep lakes and rivers of North Alabama. Today, eagles can be found in every one of Alabama’s counties, and Lake Guntersville has one confirmed nesting pair in addition to its other residents.
Park Naturalist Indiya Guthrie says visitors to the Eagle Awareness Weekends enjoy the live bird of prey demonstrations, during which the birds fly around the room. The experience allows visitors to get up close with the eagles and provides an ideal photo opportunity. The field trips also provide memorable moments. She recalls a weekend several years ago when close to one hundred eagles flocked to a creek in the park.
Lake Guntersville State Park offers Eagle Awareness packages which include lodging for two nights in the park Lodge, a cider/wine social Friday evening, breakfast buffets on Saturday and Sunday, dinner Saturday night and an Early Bird Coffee with park naturalists in the lobby on Saturday and Sunday mornings before the field trip to see eagles in their natural habitat.
Lake Guntersville State Park is located in Marshall County, Alabama.
For more information on Eagle Awareness Weekends, check the website at www.alapark.com.
Photos courtesy Marshall County Tourism and Sports