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Sun Nov 21, 2021, 07:29 AM

Bald eagles return to Conowingo Dam as wintry weather settles in

Capital Weather Gang

Bald eagles return to Conowingo Dam as wintry weather settles in

A relatively mild autumn is delaying the migration of the predators, but more eagles will come with colder temperatures

By Douglas Wong
November 16, 2021 | Updated November 16, 2021 at 3:12 p.m. EST

As the chillier weather of late fall arrives in the mid-Atlantic region, so too come other annual visitors: large, majestic bald eagles. ... Flying hundreds of miles, these predatory birds follow the coast and riverways as they search for fishing grounds that will sustain them through winter. For many, that perfect fishing spot is at Maryland’s Conowingo Dam, north of Baltimore on the Susquehanna River.

As in many other places in the mid-Atlantic, resident eagles can be seen year-round at Conowingo. But in the fall, the number of eagles can explode into the hundreds, as their northern cousins follow the Susquehanna down from its headwaters in Cooperstown in Central New York. Others follow the Atlantic Coastline, reaching the top of the Chesapeake Bay.

Adriaan Dokter, a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., said the eagles at Conowingo could be from as far away as Canada’s Newfoundland province. ... “They are fishers, they are dependent on water,” Dokter said. “So when it freezes, they will look for open water.”

The water below the dam doesn’t freeze, providing open water for the eagles to spy their prey. And the dam blocks the way for fish headed upstream.


The eagles attract photographers who set up on the fishing pier next to the dam at Fisherman's Park. On weekends, the park and fishing pier can become quite crowded with people trying to get a look at the eagles and other birds. Because the dam is nearly a mile wide, telephoto lenses are used to capture images of the birds, which can also be flying hundreds of feet high. (Douglas Wong)

One of the best ways to monitor the bird activity at the dam is through the Facebook photography group Conowingo Bald Eagles. There are almost daily postings with images of the eagles’ acrobatics above the dam and fishing on the river below.


By Douglas Wong
Douglas Wong is an editor on the Universal Desk of The Washington Post. Twitter https://twitter.com/dwongdc

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Reply Bald eagles return to Conowingo Dam as wintry weather settles in (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Nov 21 OP
ShazzieB Nov 21 #1

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sun Nov 21, 2021, 09:43 PM

1. The pictures on that FB page are fantastic--highly recommend!

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