The Edmond Sun

December 27, 2013

Arcadia Lake staff report eagle sightings

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — At least one eagle has already been spotted at Arcadia Lake, site of Eagle Watch.

The annual event, an opportunity to see the majestic birds in the wild, will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 3-5 at the lake. A video and display of a mounted bald eagle will be available along with informational displays about other birds frequently seen at the lake.

Eagle Watch visitors start at the park office, located east of I-35 off Second Street/Route 66 where they will receive a lake map. Spotters and lake staff pass along information to guests about where eagles have been spotted.

Lake fee collector Linnie Mason urged guests to dress warm and bring their binoculars. Prime time for spotting eagles is in the morning, Mason said.

A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspan of about 7 feet, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year.

Oklahoma is an important wintering area for bald eagles, consistently ranking in the top 10 states for number of birds, according to the Tulsa Audobon Society. They migrate south from their nesting range and stay wherever they find open water and plentiful food.

Migrating eagles mingle with the state’s resident population. Oklahoma had more than 60 active nests as of 2007, according to the Tulsa Audobon Society. They begin to arrive at Arcadia Lake in late November and December. Their numbers peak in January and February.

In flight, eagles often soar or glide with their wings held at a right angle to the body. They tend to roost near feeding areas, and they usually feed early in the morning. They detect prey while soaring or from a high perch.

Arcadia Lake, which has a surface area of 1,820 acres, is surrounded by 26 miles of shoreline. According to the Oklahoma City Audobon Society, birding is very good on and around the lake during any season.

Year-round birds that can be seen at the lake include: American white pelican, great blue heron, Canada goose, red-tailed hawk, wild turkey, northern bobwhite, American coot, ring-billed gull, rock pigeon, mourning dove, white-winged dove, roadrunner, great horned owl, barred owl, eastern screech owl, belted kingfisher, pileated, red-head and red-bellied woodpeckers, northern flicker, downy and hairy woodpeckers, loggerhead shrike, blue jay, American crow, tufted titmouse, Carolina and bewick’s wrens, eastern bluebird, American robin, northern mockingbird, eastern phoebe, spotted towhee, northern cardinal, eastern meadowlark, red-winged blackbird and the house sparrow.

Admission to the lake is half-price, $3 per vehicle, during Eagle Watch. The lake park office is about 3 miles east of I-35 off Second Street. For more information about Eagle Watch, call 216-7471 or the park office at 216-7470. On the Web, visit the City of Edmond’s website: edmondok.com.