Weather makes for good show in Tri-states

Photo Credit: Photo by Justen Arnold

Keokuk celebrated the silver anniversary of Bald Eagle Appreciation Days this weekend.

There was something for everyone as people from all over soared into town.

And thanks to how colder it is up north, this year's making for good bald eagle watching in the Tri-states.

Bitter temperatures keep them migrating southward following open waters in search for food.

A prime spot is below the dams along the Mississippi River.

In fact, according to Catherine Redfern with the World Bird Sanctuary of St Louis, more than 350 bald eagles have been spotted feasting near Lock and Dam 19 this weekend.

That's the most that's been spotted in any single year since Keokuk started the celebration 25 years ago.

Redfern says eagles may be plentiful, but many things still affect the bird's livelihood.

"The bald eagle is a national symbol of this country and it was endangered and the biggest threat to the bald eagle is not a lack of food, but it's actually human impact, it's habitat destruction. A lot of them will also eat carrion, not only fish so they will do things like digest lead bullets that been left in animals that hunters couldn't recover and it takes one lead bullet to kill a bald eagle."

Bald eagles were recently taken off the endangered species list in 2007.

Redfern says there are three simple things you can do to help the eagles environment...recycle and conserve energy and water.

But even though human impact remains, Redfern say they're seeing a positive impact in breeding.

For the past 25 years the sanctuary has done a census along the Mississippi River between Quincy and Alton.

This year they counted 2,154 eagles, the most ever since the study started.

35 percent of them were juveniles...a good indication breeding is on the rise.