Friday, January 20, 2012

Eagle watching in Tulsa

(ABOVE: Paul Orosco took these pictures of a bald eagle taking flight just south of Tulsa near Morris, OK)

Last weekend I woke up before church time on a Sunday morning to eagle watch along the river-- I saw two of them!

The Tulsa Audubon Society partnered with the Jenks High School Ornithology Club during "Eagle Days" on January 14th and 15th.

The group set up high-powered binoculars for the public along the Arkansas River for eagle viewing. I smiled, watching folks bringing their children and grand kids to the event.

I parked at Helmerich Park located south of 71st and Riverside and followed the signs to the watch group.

A small crowd gathered that morning, and we quickly spotted a pair of eagles nesting across the river. It's one of the few times I have knowingly see an eagle in the wild!

We watched them soar across the river and return with fresh critters for breakfast. Through the binoculars we watched the birds interact in the nest-- my first time to see nesting eagles!

(ABOVE: The purple pin shows the location of the eagle's nest. We viewed it from the walking trail along the east side of the river. Another nest is across from 41st and Riverside.)

Their nest appeared huge even from across the river!

The eagles made their home in a tree top, probably 100 feet above the ground on the west side of the Arkansas River in a tree grove. We were located about a half-mile away.

Here's what I learned that day from the Tulsa Audubon Society:

  • Bald eagles stand over 3 feet tall and weigh more than 10 pounds
  • Their wingspan is the width of a car
  • They can fly 100mph!!
  • Eagles are seen together as mating pairs, and they remain with their partner for life
  • At a glance, the female and male look the same. However, the female is larger
  • They may have more than one nest
  • Nests are usually found in tree tops near lakes and rivers
  • And their nest may weigh 2,000 lbs!!
  • Eagles are most active in the morning and during the winter in Oklahoma
  • Since 1990, eagles have grown from zero to 90 known nests in Oklahoma

If you are interested in wildlife, then I encourage you to make friends with the Tulsa Audubon Society:

If you've never seen an eagle before, check out their calendar for future events.

I'll be back!

(BELOW: Follow the signs set up that morning at Helmerich Park for eagle watching... The Tulsa Audubon Society set up high-powered binoculars for anyone to view the eagles... The bottom pic is a KJRH viewer pic of a pair of eagles along Avery Drive in west Tulsa.)

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