PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2010 Pueblo “Eagle Days Festival” is slated for Feb. 6-7 at Lake Pueblo State Park and Wildlife Area. Activities include live bird demonstrations, bird watching classes, wildlife viewing stations, and performances by the United States Air Force Academy falcons and the Koshare Indian Dancers.
“Eagle Day is a great opportunity for the whole family to get out of the house and enjoy nature,” said John Koshak of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “There will be outdoor activities and demonstrations, as well as indoor exhibits and seminars.”
Indoor events take place Saturday at the State Parks Headquarters Building. Wildlife viewing tours and viewing stations complete with spotting scopes will be set up on the north side of the reservoir.
There are more eagles around Lake Pueblo in the winter than any other time of the year. The eagles concentrate along the open waters of the Arkansas River Valley because snow and ice has covered the lakes and reservoirs to the north.
This year, due to the growing popularity of Eagle Days, a second day of outdoor activities has been added on Sun., Feb. 7, including a guided wildlife viewing tour on the Pueblo State Wildlife Area. Koshak said participants for Sunday’s tour should meet at the entrance to the north side of the Pueblo State Wildlife Area at 9 a.m. (The State Wildlife Area north entrance is located off Nichols Road in Pueblo West.) Koshak advises to dress appropriately for the weather; and to bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras.
At 11 a.m. on Sun., staff from the Greenway Nature Center and Raptor Center will host a “bird walk” along the Arkansas River followed by an “Open House” with live bird viewing from noon until 3 p.m.
Pueblo Eagle Days co-sponsors are the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society, Lake Pueblo State Park, Pueblo Zoo, Greenway Nature Center of Pueblo, the Pueblo Raptor Center, Black Hills Energy, the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Coyote’s Coffee Den, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
THE POPULARITY OF EAGLES
Eagles rank number one on the list of animals that Americans say they want to see in the wild, and Colorado in the winter offers prime viewing opportunities for both bald eagles and golden eagles.
The bald eagle – so named because of its white head – lives only in North America, and it is the second largest bird of prey of the continent. Only the California condor is larger.
Up to 1,200 bald eagles spend the winter in Colorado. They are attracted by relatively mild winters. Bald eagles tend to stay near open water where they can find fish, which is why they gather near large reservoirs along the Arkansas River drainage in the winter. The bald eagle prefers to nest in large trees near water with little human activity.
Most of the bald eagles leave Colorado in late February or March, heading north to nesting grounds in the northern U.S., Canada, and Alaska. A few bald eagles remain year-round.
Adult bald eagles have a wingspan of up to eight feet and may weigh as much as 12 pounds. They have large brown bodies, yellow beaks and white heads and tails. They fly with deep strokes and soar on flattened wings. Because immature bald eagles lack the distinctive white markings, they are frequently confused with golden eagles until they reach the age of maturity.
Golden eagles prefer rugged cliffs with adjacent open fields where they feed on a variety of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Rabbits and prairie dogs make up a large portion of their diet.
Unlike bald eagles, it is more common to find a golden eagle nest in Colorado. There are between 600 and 900 active golden eagle nest sites. Colorado’s golden eagles tend to migrate to the northwest during the spring and return to the eastern plains in the winter. Some golden eagles remain in southern Colorado year-round.
For more information and a detailed schedule of events and times, please visit the Eagle Days Festival Web site at www.eagleday.org or call John Koshak in Colorado Springs at (719) 227-5221 or the Pueblo DOW office at (719) 561-5300.
For more information about Division of Wildlife go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us.