Last updated: December 10. 2013 11:33AM - 406 Views
by Sue Hokanson, Quartz Mountain Nature Park

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Bald Eagles have arrived at Quartz Mountain State Park. Two mature bald eagles (white heads and tails) have been spotted the last several days in the cottonwood trees at Hicks Mountain boat ramp. An immature (no white head/tail feathers yet) has been observed soaring over Quartz Mountain, then over the Golf Course area.
With this Arctic blast we had, lakes in South Dakota and Nebraska are freezing solid, pushing more eagles south. A prolonged cold snap in Nebraska and Kansas will really increase the numbers of bald eagles wintering in Oklahoma. However, if Lake Altus-Lugert freezes over (and ice was forming in the shallow sloughs) the eagles will head to open water further south.
Bald eagles primarily eat fish. They will perch in a tree overlooking the lake and when a fish comes close to the surface the eagle will launch from the tree, swoop down and grab the fish on the wing. Often they will return to a tree and eat their catch. If the fish is too large to carry far, they may feed near the shoreline. Eagles will “steal” fish from other birds and eat dead fish that have washed ashore. Last winter’s fish kill had our Bald Eagle numbers climbing to 32. Hopefully we won’t have another Golden Algae fish kill.
Don’t forget this Friday is the 2013 Cowboy Christmas Ball at Quartz Mountain. Wendell Sollis and the Sidekicks All Star Band will be providing an evening of dance music. They will be playing Bob Wills Western Swing, Classic Country, Big Band and Cajun music. The Cowboy Ball starts at 8 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 13 . Seating is limited, so if you do not yet have your tickets and want to attend, call Sollis Productions at 940-839-7870 or send an email to jwsollis@yahoo.com. Cowboy Christmas Ball tickets are also available at KEYB radio (call 580-482-1555) or Bar Circle Rentals (call 580-482-5567).
The Nature Center at Quartz Mountain Nature Park will be closed from Saturday, Dec. 14 until Thursday, Jan. 2. The Nature Center will be open Wednesday through Friday this week and then reopen 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2 . Eagle Watches start 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4 at the Group Camp Community Building.

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