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See Utah's Bald Eagles On February 8

bald eagle piccreativecommons.org/Pen Waggener

Since it began back in 1990, Bald Eagle Day has become one of Utah's most popular wildlife viewing events.

Bald Eagle Day will be held on February 8 at five viewing sites across the state. This event is absolutely free to attend.

To draw plenty of eagles for people to view, Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) biologists usually bring dead carp from Utah Lake and deposit the fish at the Farmington Bay and Salt Creek waterfowl management areas.

Dead carp are a favourite food of bald eagles. However, after several eagles within the greater Great Salt Lake area died after contracting West Nile virus earlier this winter, biologists don't want to encourage the birds to congregate.

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says congregating eagles in one spot could lead to a bird that has West Nile virus passing the disease to other eagles through its saliva or faeces.

For that reason, carp will not be deposited this year. Not having carp for the birds to eat will likely reduce the number of eagles people see.

However, even though the number of eagles at Farmington Bay and Salt Creek might not be as high as normal, eagles should still be available to watch. And seeing even just a few of these birds can take your breath away.

Spotting-scopes will be available at each viewing site so you can get a good look at the eagles. Biologists and volunteers will also be on hand to help you spot the eagles and to answer your

The best time to see eagles depends on what's most important to you – staying as warm as possible or seeing more eagles!

If staying warm is most important, attend late in the morning or early in the afternoon. This is also the best time to get a clear view of the eagles.

However, if you want to see the greatest number of eagles – with fairly good light conditions and reasonably warm temperatures – you should attend between 2p.m. and 4p.m. After 4p.m., eagles at many of the viewing locations will start flying to trees to roost for the night.

You can see eagles at the following five locations across Utah:

Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area (Compton's Knoll) is located about 10 miles northwest of Corinne. Viewing will take place from 10a.m. to 3p.m.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area is located on the west side of Farmington. Viewing will take place from 9a.m. to 4p.m.

Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery is located east of Nephi. Viewing will take place from 9a.m. to 4p.m.

Split Mountain and Green River are located north of Jensen and below the Dinosaur Quarry at the Dinosaur National Monument (DNM).Viewing will take place from 9a.m. to 3p.m.

Kannarville is just south of Cedar City. Viewing will take place from 9a.m. to 2p.m.

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