More bald eagles nesting in NW Alabama
by Tom Smith
January 23, 2014 12:00 AM | 559 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A bald eagle perches on a tree limb Jan. 17 near Sheffield, Ala. Wildlife enthusiasts said for several years there were only one or two eagle’s nests in the Shoals area of northwest Alabama. That has slowly changed thanks to a plan implemented in the 1980s and ’90s. <br>The Associated Press
A bald eagle perches on a tree limb Jan. 17 near Sheffield, Ala. Wildlife enthusiasts said for several years there were only one or two eagle’s nests in the Shoals area of northwest Alabama. That has slowly changed thanks to a plan implemented in the 1980s and ’90s.
The Associated Press
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FLORENCE, Ala. — Shirley Wayland said she loves to watch bald eagles fly, and there is only one word to describe them: “majestic.”

“They are so amazing to watch. We love to watch them,” said Wayland, president of Shoals Audubon Society.

“You see that wing span come out and then take off. It’s breathtaking,” Waterloo resident Ted Kavich said. “They are so beautiful to see.”

Wayland said the area is lucky to have several bald eagles now nesting here.

“We get to see a lot of them in our area,” she said.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Wildlife enthusiasts said for several years there were only one or two eagle’s nests in the Shoals area of northwest Alabama. That has slowly changed thanks to a plan implemented in the 1980s and ’90s.

“During those years we released a lot of young birds in the area,” said Keith Hudson, a retired wildlife biologist with Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “A lot of them came back and established nesting here.

“We stopped monitoring the nesting in 2006 because we had more and more eagles nesting here.” He said at least a dozen nests are along the Tennessee River from Wheeler Dam to Pickwick Dam.

“They are really doing well,” Hudson said.

He said one reason for the increase is the abundance of water and good habitat.

“This stretch of the river usually doesn’t ice up and the birds can come down here and feed well,” Hudson said. “We have a lot of interior waterways in the region that provide good habitat.”

He said a lot of eagles are wintering and nesting in west central Alabama because of the number of catfish ponds in the area.

“They’ve found a buffet there,” he said and laughed.

He said a lot of those birds migrate back to the Shoals area.

“It’s all about good habitat and good climate,” Hudson said. “We have both for bald eagles. The cold really doesn’t bother them, unless it ices up.” Kavich said several nests are around Waterloo.

“And driving down (Waterloo Road) near the rock wall, you can see them sitting up on the tree tops, waiting to do a little fishing,” Kavich said.

Wayland said it’s not unusual to see eagles near Shoal Creek and close to Wilson Dam, across from the Rock Pile Campsite on the Tennessee Valley Authority Reservation.

She said she and her husband recently spotted one flying over Shoal Creek Bridge as they crossed.

“And we’ve seen them perched down on Robbins Beach Road,” she said. “I think it’s a surprise for people in the area to see them perched or flying around.”

Kavich said he never gets tired of seeing them fly.

“I can sit and watch them all day. They are so beautiful and amazing to watch,” he said. “There’s just something special about seeing an eagle spread its wings and then take off. It’s something to behold. I’m glad they’re here for us to enjoy.”

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