07 Jan KY Lake Eagle Viewing
We have recently partnered with Programs Coordinator, Arrianne Byrum, of the Woodlands Nature Station in Land Between the Lakes to provide our guests with some tips and tricks to view our beloved Bald Eagle population here at Kentucky Lake! Wintertime offers some of the best
opportunities to spot and observe these majestic birds. Skim through to find some popular areas for spotting bald eagles and how to safely watch them. Be sure to share your photos with us by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram using our handle @visitkylake and #kentuckylake!
Due to health concerns with COVID-19, Land Between the Lakes will not be offering eagle tours of any kind for the 2021 eagle viewing season (Jan-early Feb). However, we do have some great recommendations for your readers to go find them on their own excursions, as well as tips and tricks for spotting them. I hope this helps! I’ll attach a couple photos as well. The eagle photo is by Melodie Cunningham. Please reach out to me with any further questions!
A couple things to note: Eagles will lose vital energy and become stressed when approached. Keep both you and the eagles safe by observing them from a distance. Respect wildlife protection areas and do not approach nests or roosting areas.
Bald Eagle Basics:
Bald eagles are found by lakes, rivers, and marshes, since 75% of their diet is fish. All bald eagles have a dark body, but only adults (5+ years) have a white head and tail. Young bald eagles resemble golden eagles, but golden eagles are rarely seen in Land Between the Lakes. Wingspans range from 6 to 8 feet, and they weigh between 6 and 14 pounds. Eagles return yearly to their nests, adding to them. Some nests can get up to 9 feet wide and weigh over a ton!
Federal Protection of Eagles:
Conservation efforts, such as banning DDT and the reintroduction of young eagles to healthy habitats like Land Between the Lakes, have allowed bald eagles to thrive. Working together, various agencies released a total of 44 bald eagles into Land Between the Lakes over an 8 year period. In
2016, US Fish and Wildlife estimated there were 143, 000 eagles nationwide.
Land Between the Lakes Eagles:
Winter is the best time to see eagles at Land Between the Lakes. Typically 100-150 bald eagles on the Lakes during the winter. About 20 eagle pairs stay for the entire year to nest and raise young. During a 2018 winter survey, researchers found 38 nests in Land Between the Lakes, but not all were used the following year. In 2019, there were 187 nests in all of Kentucky, more than double the number in 2010.
Eagle Spotting Tips:
- Flying eagles are flat, and flap their wings stiffly. Flying vultures tilt their wings up, making a “V” when observed head-on.
- Eagles tend to perch in the top 1/3 of a tree.
- Perched eagles look like a squirrel nest. (Adult eagles look like a snow covered squirrel nest)
- On nice days, eagles often perch where the bay meets the lake. On rainy or cold days, they often perch at the back of the bay, far away from the lake.
- Eagles spook easily. For best viewing, use binoculars and observe from a distance.
Potential Eagle Viewing Spots:
- Kentucky Dam (Marshall County’s Backyard!)
- Barkley Dam
- Honker Dam/Bobcat Point (LBL)
- Sugar Bay (LBL)
- Redd Hollow (LBL)
- Ginger Bay (End of Rd. 212) (LBL)
- Panther Bay (LBL)
- Fort Donelson National Battlefield (TN)
Public Programs Coordinator
Woodlands Nature StationFriends of Land Between the Lakes