The eagles have landed

An American icon returns to the city of bridges.

Bald eagles have arrived in Ottumwa. Conservationists estimate there to be about 100 eagles in the Ottumwa area this time of year. While tracking eagles in the city, researchers look within a fifteen mile circle of the city.

Annette Wittrock of the Pioneer Ridge Nature Center says the Des Moines River in Ottumwa makes for a perfect nesting area for the eagles.

With that dam, there TMs open water most of the winter, Wittrock said. So what they TMre really looking for is not necessarily a warm place to go but a warmer place to go where there is open water, where they catch the fish that they TMre looking to eat.

Many of the eagles migrate from as far as Alaska and portions of Canada. The number of birds that appear on the Des Moines River depends on the type of winter we have.

If we have a year where there TMs not a lot of open water there probably is not going to be as many around. They TMre gonna find some place else to go and so if it TMs really cold and we TMve got a lot of ice on the water then those numbers are definitely going to go down.