FEATHERED GLORY

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FEATHERED GLORY

By Asa Leveaux

Majestic. Powerful. Beautiful. Graceful. Dignified. Symbolic.

These are just a few of the beautiful adjectives that slip through the lips of those catch a glimpse of the bald eagle. Many cultures sing the praises of the eagle and the crucial role they have played in their cultures to include the Aztecs, Roman Empire, Native Americans, the United States of America, as well as Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has a lot to boast about, including being the birthplace of Blake Shelton, the greatest concentration of historically African American townships and a resting haven for one of nature’s most prized gifts.

Throughout the winter, Oklahoma’s state parks and lakes host numerous eagle watch events, allowing citizens to view the sight of the bald eagle as it makes its winter home in Oklahoma.

Chosen for its imagery of freedom, the bald eagle has remained a constant reminder of everything that America was founded on and remains to be in the collective consciousness.

Americans were on the breach of not being able to enjoy this gift if not for the intentional preservation of the species. From 1918 to 2007, the eagle has been protected due to their decline in population. The most significant factor that assisted the eagle in being removed from the endangered species list by the Department of Interior was the 1972 ban on DDT, which caused harm to eagle eggs.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, “Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states in the nation for winter eagle viewing.” This fact is due to the bald eagles’ migration patterns that vary from year to year. Oklahoma spillways and lakes serve as viewing for eagle wintering, and to ensure that a eagle watching experience is an unforgettable one, here are a few choice locations to enjoy.

The first stop to consider in central Oklahoma is Discovery Cove Nature Center at Thunderbird Lake in Cleveland County. Located off Highway 9, visitors find events from December to March that relish in the sightings of eagles.

The next local sighting area is located at Lake Arcadia near Edmond. The lake offers ample opportunities to see this great bird in action from Friday to Sunday at the Arcadia Lake Project Office. Remember that though the eagles have become a mainstay at these various locations, it’s recommended to contact the staff before embarking on the journey.

Central Oklahoma has numerous lakes and waterways that offer views of the Southern Bald Eagle.

Catch other Eagle Watch events throughout the winter and spring:

• Beavers Bend State Park – Each Saturday through Feb. 22, head to Beavers Bend State Park to view the majestic bald eagle that makes the Oklahoma waterways their winter home. The tour meets at the amphitheater.
• Sequoyah National Park – Through March 1, visitors to Sequoyah Wildlife Refuge in Vian can begin the tour by watching eagles from the refuge’s webcam. The tour continues on a 25-person tour bus, and guests are encouraged to bring binoculars. Afterwards, make your way to Tenkiller State Park for more eagles and lots of loons, including the common loon, the red-throated loon, the pacific loon and the yellow-billed loon.
• Kaw Nation Learning Center in Kaw – Travel to northern Oklahoma’s Kaw City, located around Kaw Lake, for guided eagle-viewing tours. This event involves a day of activities in addition to the thrill of viewing the majestic eagles that winter in the area. During the Ultimate Eagle Watch, the history of the eagle and its habitat will be discussed, as well as the significance of the eagle to American Indian culture and customs.

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