FBEC volunteers greet visitors at our overlook in Prairie du Sac. We answer questions, help people see eagles through spotting scopes, provide information, and steer them to other eagle watching sites.
Bald eagles usually start arriving in early December and stay until the spring thaw. Depending on weather conditions locally and up north, they can arrive and or leave sooner or later.
Optimal times to view eagles in the area are:
- During morning hours, from dawn to mid-day, especially when feeding along the Wisconsin River.
- When there is extensive snow cover.
- When it’s cold, especially near zero degrees, and the Wisconsin River has frozen below the Highway 12 bridge.
The key to winter eagle survival is finding food, mostly fish from the river. Snow cover and very cold temperatures increase ice on the river, concentrating eagles in the Sauk Prairie area where the hydroelectric dam keeps waters open so eagles can fish. When there is no snow and temperatures are closer to freezing, eagles are still in the area, but may be spread out more down-river and off-river.
Photo: Village of Prairie du Sac