Usually people do not think of winter as a good time to go birding. Especially here in Minnesota where our winter are cold and gray and most birds leave town heading for warmer climates. However winter birding can be quite rewarding if you know what to look for and where to look. Minnesota has a large population of nesting bald eagles, second highest state next to Alaska. During the spring, summer and fall you can find eagles mainly around one of our many lakes, rivers and other water bodies. Although bald eagles are opportunistic feeders, and will eat whatever is easier, they are built to catch and eat fish. During the warm months they are spread out all around the state.
When winter comes its a different story. Bald eagles are not affected very much by cold but they still need to eat. During the winter our temps get cold and our lakes, rivers and streams get frozen. So the eagles migrate and congregate in locations where the water remains open. This is the case at Reeds Landing in south eastern Minnesota. Reeds Landing is right across from where the fast moving Chippewa River comes from Wisconsin and merges into the slow moving Mississippi. When the fast water hits the slower water it churns things up which helps to keep the ice of the river through out the winter. It is possible to see eagles by the hundreds around Reeds Landing. Many eagles will be perched in a favorite tree keeping an eye out for a fishy meal, some will be out on the ice and others will be soaring through the brilliant blue.