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Sauk Prairie Dam

Here are some more photos of the bald eagle release last Sunday. The first image is a composite of the Wisconsin River. Very small on left side is the hydroelectric dam. If we have an extremely cold winter and the river freezes over above the dam, the bald eagles concentrate in this area because they’re able to find food. Mostly fish, but they will also take some waterfowl. This year the birds are more dispersed. About 25 miles north there is a river from which a dam has been removed. Consequently, the favorite fish of the bald eagle, shad,  has greatly increased in population and many eagles have been observed roosting and fishing along the Baraboo River.

juvenile bald eagle

This female immature bald eagle was the second to be released. Here Marge opens her wing so we can get an idea of the wingspan and see the coloration indicating this bird’s age. Female raptors are usually larger than males. These females weighed about 12 pounds each.

Sub-adult female bald eagle

The last eagle returned to the wild that day was this female, who was about 4 years old. If you look at the bird’s head, you can see that she is developing a sort of mask. This is what happens the year before the head and tail start to turn the characteristic white which unmistakably identifies the birds as American Bald Eagles.