Iowa Fish Launcher Ensures Dramatic Eagle Photos

A mature bald eagle lands in a tree after flying around the water front at Pleasant Creek Recreation Area on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, north of Palo, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/KCRG-TV9)

Tools

By Richard Pratt

LECLAIRE, Iowa (AP) — The photographers who line up at a Mississippi River lock to snap images of eagles are getting help from a Clinton man who built a giant slingshot that flings dead fish into the open water.

Ken Kester, who built the contraption, calls it a "fish launcher."

Kester sets up the slingshot at Lock and Dam 14 and tells the Quad-City Times it can toss fish a couple hundred feet into the channel, where the water is calmer and eagles feel comfortable snatching up the meals.

Photographers line elbow-to-elbow on nice days to make images of the eagles, and the slingshot ensures more dramatic pictures.

Iowa conservation officer Jeff Harrison says flinging fish into the river is fine as long as the fish come from the local pool of water.

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