Perry Lake Eagles Day Jan. 29

The national bird is the main attraction at the Perry Lake Eagles Day Saturday, Jan. 29.The program will begin at 10 a.m. at the Perry American Legion Hall.

Bald EagleThe program will feature Marty Birrell, director of the Prairie Park Nature Center in Lawrence, who will bring one of the center’s bald eagles for all to observe.

Bunnie Watkins, natural resource manager with the Corps of Engineers, will lead a field trip to Perry Lake to view bald eagles in the wild. The day’s activites are free and open to all ages.

Bald Eagles are found only in North America. At one time it is believed there were as many as 50,000 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states when the bird was adopted as the national symbol in 1782. But habitat destruction, contamination of their food source and illegal shooting caused a significant reduction in the bald eagle population.

By 1963, their numbers had decreased to about 2,000 with only 417 nesting pairs. Protection efforts over the years have made an improvement in bald eagle numbers. In 2010 there were more than 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states.

Historically bald eagles probably nested along rivers in Kansas but no records were ever kept. In 1989 the first successful bald eagle nest in Kansas was documented at Clinton Lake near Lawrence. Since then their numbers have increased and as of 2010, 26 nesting territories have been documented with more than 650 eaglets fledged in Kansas.

For more information, contact Watkins at the Corps office at 785-597-5144.

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