Bald Eagle Days offer viewings, seminars
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2013
1/13/13 at 7:41 AM
The spirits of local bald eagle enthusiasts are soaring this weekend.
The Bald Eagle Days event offers an opportunity for those with an interest in America's national bird to see them in their own habitat along the Arkansas River and then to subsequently get a closer look at a series of seminars at the Jenks High School Freshman Academy.
Tulsa Audubon Society president John Kennington said Saturday that the two-part event, now in its second year, allows bird-lovers and novices to learn more about the "mystique" behind the birds.
Kennington estimated there are about 200 bald eagles that nest in Oklahoma but that hundreds more migrate through the state.
He said they are "birds of opportunity" who aren't very picky about what they consume.
"They will eat whatever they can get their talons on," Kennington said.
Todd Humphrey, who teaches ornithology at Jenks High School and is a member of the Tulsa Audubon Society's board of directors, said bald eagles eat fish but also will devour many other creatures including other birds, such as American coots and ducks.
"Their first choice is what's easiest," Humphrey said.
Sunday's schedule for Bald Eagle Days will follow the same format as Saturday. The seminars about eagles and other bird-related topics will occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Jenks. Those sessions will be preceded by a gathering at Helmerich Park, 7301 S. Riverside Parkway from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., during which people will look across the Arkansas River at nesting bald eagles.
On Saturday, Bill Weisrock, a self- described amateur photographer, was attempting to get a good shot of one the birds. Meanwhile, Gary Weaver said he showed up on the wickedly cold morning hoping to get a good look at an eagle for the first time.
Humphrey said part of that appeal is due to the size of bald eagles. He said their wingspans can measure six feet or longer, meaning that they create quite a scene as they swoop through the air.
Kennington suggested their predatory nature may have something to do with their popularity, although he said that the screeching sound one hears in some film footage is actually dubbed in from other types of birds with more impressive voices.
Eagles occupy a sacred role in some cultures and are known to practice monogamy. Humphrey said the two that Helmerich Park visitors were viewing on Saturday morning from afar have been together at least seven years.
Original Print Headline: Bald Eagle Days
David Harper 918-581-8359
Jenks students (from left) Natalie McKillip, Cameron Lambky and Brooklynn Bond take turns looking through a spotting scope on the east side of the Arkansas River to view eagle nests a half-mile away on the opposite side of the river during an early morning eagle watch at Helmerich Park in Tulsa on Saturday. The students were at the watch for a school project. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Ann Robinson takes a peek through one of the spotting scopes on the east side of the Arkansas River to view eagles on the opposite side of the river. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World