Heart of Utah: Become a bird nerd by spotting bald eagles this February

Feb 17, 2021, 10:07 AM | Updated: Apr 26, 2021, 6:40 pm

This story about Bald Eagles in Utah is part of KSL NewsRadio’s ongoing Heart of Utah program to highlight good news around the state that airs Fridays.

FARMINGTON, Utah — February is a great month to see bald eagles and other majestic birds in Utah.

And you and your family may get hooked into the fascinating bird world and Utah’s outdoors.

Utah: Where bald eagles and other big birds come for winter

When it gets colder up in Canada and to the north of us, bald eagles and other raptors and great birds come south, and they stop here.

“Kind of like traffic jams would be in Yellowstone for bears, we kind of have eagle jams out here at the wetlands,” said Billy Fenimore, the director of the Eccles Wildlife Education Center in Farmington.

He connects the community with nature.

“We still have some open pockets of water, so birds and eagles can continue now to prey on fish. And also ducks, because they also go after ducks and so forth. So we have this habitat which is like kind of like a grocery store for them,” he explained.

And it’s easier to go grocery shopping because the wetland managers at Farmington Bay manage the water level. When they lower it, the carp are slightly exposed. The gulls go after the carp, and the eagles take notice.

Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources The spread of the avian flu has officials at Tracy Aviary taking precautions for its eagles and other  exhibits. The avian flu is a disease that is spread from wild migrating birds to backyard animals such as chickens. The CDC confirmed Thursday the first human case of avian influenza in the U.S.Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources As bald eagles make their way to Utah, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has four events for you to see and learn more about the bird. Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources

Fenimore said February is a perfect time to grab the binoculars or scope and go take a look. Who knows, one could be your hook bird, or that spark that starts a lifetime of birding and bird watching.

Birds of a feather

Fenimore saw his first bald eagle at Hawk Ridge in Pennsylvania when he was young.

“I didn’t expect to see one, but it was captivating. It’s those talents, that beak — it was really neat just to see it soaring, and it didn’t have a real care in the world,” he said.

Fenimore said bring snacks and warm clothes but do short trips with young kids. He is based in Farmington and he’s more than happy to show people around. Morgan County has good spots for bird watching. Cedar City, Fountain Green, Bear Lake, Willard Bay…the division of wildlife resources has a whole list of spots where birds have been known to roost.

For us along the Wasatch Front, the DWR said the best place to look is:

  • In the big cottonwood trees at Rendezvous Beach on the south end of Bear Lake.
  • In trees along the Blacksmith Fork River east of Hyrum.
  • In trees along the Weber River near Croydon and just below Echo Reservoir.
  • Along the road leading to Lost Creek Reservoir. The reservoir is north of Croydon.
  • Willard Bay Reservoir west of Willard. You can often see eagles in trees near the reservoir and on the iced-capped reservoir itself.
  • Compton’s Knoll at the Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area west of Corinne. You can view bald eagles and other wildlife from the Compton’s Knoll viewing area on the northeast side of the WMA. The rest of the WMA is closed to visitors.
  • The Eccles Wildlife Education Center at the Farmington Bay WMA west of Farmington. You can often see eagles on the portion of the WMA near the center. If you spot an eagle on the WMA, please remember not to stop your vehicle in the middle of the road. Instead, pull off to the side of the road so other vehicles can pass.

It could lead to a future of birding or bird watching and enjoying the beautiful Utah outdoors.

“Everybody can be kind of bird nerdy together,” said Fenimore.

You might want to try to get a glimpse in the next week or two. The eagles may be done shopping and get ready to fly off again.

The national bird debate

P.S. We had to ask him, would we be this excited about turkeys if Benjamin Franklin had succeeded in making the turkey our national bird? Here’s what he said:

“You know, it’s funny because when turkeys are going through their breeding season, you know they have these colors or heads turn different colors: red, whites and blues, and that’s part of what Ben Franklin saw. So in the spring season you know when they see a hen, they get excited and there are different colors and trying to impress her, and that’s part of the red, white and blue, our flag, and that’s part of why he thought it could have been our national bird instead.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Heart of Utah

Utah history...

Elizabeth Weiler

Division of State History spreading awareness for Utah History Month in January

SALT LAKE CITY — In 2019, Utahs Division of State History created Utah History Month to draw attention to Utah’s history work happening across our state and to document and preserve that history. Utah is entering its’ 127th year of statehood next month and many Utah-culture related events and exhibits will follow according to the […]

11 months ago

Water Canyon High School footbal players stay warm using Dixie High School football teams cold weat...

Alejandro Lucero

Water Canyon football stays warm with help from school district partner

The high school's inaugural football season almost came to an end because of the snow, but strong partnerships gave them a fighting chance.

1 year ago

The very first ever Miss Volunteer America is Mapleton, Utah's own Alexa Knutzer. Photo courtesy of...

Mark Jackson

Mapleton woman crowned first-ever ‘Miss Volunteer America’

Alexa Knutzen said the name Miss Volunteer America represents the organization's new focus on women's empowerment.

2 years ago

refugees Ukraine...

Mark Jackson

Brigham City man uses time between work gigs to help refugees in Ukraine

His family says Solomon Smith is uniquely trained to bring supplies to refugees in Ukraine, after having worked in the Peace Corp in Africa.

2 years ago

Spencer Truman st george wwii veteran...

Simone Seikaly

St. George WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday on Valentine’s Day

Spencer Truman was trained to enter combat in gliders, and fought in Operations Overlord and Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge.

2 years ago

afghan community fund helps refugees arriving in utah - small boy holds drawing...

Becky Bruce

Update: Afghan Community Fund raises more than a million for Utah refugees

The Afghan Community Fund collected more than $1.1 million since mid-October, though Gov. Spencer Cox acknowledged an unprecedented level of need.

2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Heart of Utah: Become a bird nerd by spotting bald eagles this February