Barkley trip offers rare glimpse of bald eagles
by Alan Reed
Jan 09, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The eagle-watching boat prepares to leave.
The eagle-watching boat prepares to leave.
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Make sure you bring your zoom lense for when these beautiful birds fly overhead.
Make sure you bring your zoom lense for when these beautiful birds fly overhead.
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Cary Tichenor (left), the chief naturalist for Kentucky State Parks, and John Rufli, president of Friends of Land Between the Lakes, enjoy the view from inside the boat.
Cary Tichenor (left), the chief naturalist for Kentucky State Parks, and John Rufli, president of Friends of Land Between the Lakes, enjoy the view from inside the boat.
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During the winter months, Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake offer visitors a glimpse at an elusive and rare symbol of the United States, the bald eagle. The Kentucky State Parks Service treated members of the media, visiting dignitaries and park employees to a lunchtime trip on the “CQ Princess” across Kentucky Lake to view the majestic birds.

Cary Tichenor, Chief Naturalist of Kentucky State Parks conducted a portion of the tour, noting many of the birds travel from colder climates around the Great Lakes to the area along the Mississippi River.

“As their lakes freeze over, they travel south in search of food,” said Tichenor. “They are opportunistic predators, though their primary diet comes from baitfish. It is not uncommon to see them eating American loons.”

Tichenor noted that eagles express a preference for many of the same conditions that visitors to the lakes enjoy. “On dreary days, they perch on limbs. On pleasant days they are more active and fly around. Eagles find columns of warm air called ‘thermals’ and can ride them long distances. They like the same roosting sites and prefer to perch in the same places and may even have a favorite branch in a tree. They leave their roosting sites to go into different bays to feed.”

All area state parks plan to conduct Eagle Watch Weekends in January and February. Kentucky Dam Village’s weekend falls on January 18-20, Lake Barkley’s on January 25-27 and Kenlake on February 1-3.

All three parks will have tours available by van, or aboard the 100-foot, climate controlled “CQ Princess,” for the comfort of eagle watchers. Prices range from $20 to $50. Call the appropriate state park for reservations.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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