Wildlife Watch for Bald Eagles this Winter
Winter can seem like a difficult time to watch for wildlife. Trees have dropped their leaves, a good number of birds have migrated south and many mammals have gone into hibernation. However, a good naturalist knows that as the seasons change, so does the wildlife you look for. Winter may not be a great time to look for insects or nesting birds, but it is the best season to look for wildlife tracks, evergreen trees, deer and raptors.
Raptors are birds of prey that hunt while in flight and use their feet to capture prey. The most famous raptor is the bald eagle, and for the continental United States, winter is the best season for viewing this majestic creature. During the summer, bald eagles live and breed in Alaska and Canada. As the temperatures drop, bald eagles migrate south to hunt over large lakes and river for their primary prey, fish. They can be seen in every state except Hawaii, and are most commonly spotted over lakes in the Mississippi Valley, Pacific Northwest, Hudson River Valley and the Mid-Atlantic.
If you spot bald eagles or any other winter wildlife, visit the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Watch website to report your sightings. Wildlife Watch is a free educational program where participants can upload photos of wildlife, share stories and map the locations of their wildlife watching. Visit to learn more about citizen wildlife monitoring with NWF.
To learn more about watching for bald eagles, read Where the Eagles Are from National Wildlife magazine.