In the winter, bald eagles can be found along major rivers where the water is unfrozen due to rapids or dams where they can fish. On Saturday morning I headed to downtown Cedar Rapids to see if I could sight any of these magnificent, iconic birds. As luck would have it, I found one mature eagle resting in a large tree above the river near the I-380 bridge on the west side. I spotted this individual as I was crossing the 1st Avenue bridge and stopped to observe with a pair of binoculars. After a time I got out to snap a few photos, being sure to keep my distance. When viewing eagles or other large birds of prey, it is important to make sure that you do not disturb them from their resting places, as they need to conserve energy particularly during the winter. A good rule of thumb is staying at least 50-100 yards away. These photos were taken with a DSLR camera and a telephoto zoom lens so that I could maintain a distance comfortable for the eagle.
Other places known for eagle viewing are at the roller dam south of downtown along Old River Road, and at the lock and dams along the Mississippi River, such as lock and dam #11 in Dubuque and #14 in Davenport.
I observed a total of 7 eagles on Saturday; three near Palo, three downtown, and one along the roller dam.