Last updated: January 14. 2014 1:53PM - 456 Views
by Sue Hokanson, Quartz Mountain Nature Park

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Until this last Sunday, there were ten (10) Bad Eagles roosting at Quartz Mountain Nature Park. Most evenings had the bird seen returning to the tall cottonwoods I n the Eagle’s Roost ATV Area of North Shore. During the day the eagles were being spotted fishing in the North Fork just south of Quartz Mountain, near Warren and Headrick . Often the birds would return to Quartz Mountain to ride the thermals over the mountains or to survey lake events s from trees near Twin Peaks or Hicks Mountain Boat Ramp.

Sunday’s high winds were 31 mph out of the southwest with gusts up to 38 mph. Those winds brought the temperature up to a high of 79 degrees. That was 29 degrees higher than our average high in early January. If the Bald Eagles thought summer was here and decided to leave. Those same winds that brought the warm temps could have carried the Bald Eagles north.

I do not believe the Bald Eagles would have left for the season yet. There is a lot of winter still ahead, especially in the Bald Eagles nest and raise their young- Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas and Canada. The earliest the Bald Eagles have left in the past 17 years was January 31st / February 1st 2010.

2010 was the year of the last Major Ice Storm. On January 22nd 2010, it got up to 74 degrees then a cold front hit and the lake started freezing over in the slough. On January 27th temperatures again shot up to 68 this time and on the 27th the freezing rain and temperatures started to fall. Between 0.75 and 1.5 inches of ice coated everything. Tree branches and power poles started to snap. For three days the temps stayed below freezing and Lake Altus-Lugert started to freeze solid.

With the lake frozen over the Bald Eagles were unable to fish when they most needed extra food for warmth. Now they could have done what they’re doing this year.-fish the North Fork and roost at North Shore. However, the roar of chain saws and generators filled the air all across western Oklahoma and the Bald Eagles departed around the 31st of January. Let’s HOPE January 2014 doesn’t play out like January 2010!!

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