Bald eagles flocking to northwest Missouri

Drought kills fish, giving birds easy food

BEAN LAKE, Mo. - A drought isn't normally a great way to attract tourists. But in northwest Missouri it 's attracting visitors of the flying variety. 

Bald eagles that usually come to Bean Lake in northern Platte County during the winter have been coming in bigger numbers this year. A Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman said it is because of the drought. 

"We've had a fish kill that has concentrated the food for them," Conservation spokesman Bill Graham said. 

The summer drought shrank Bean Lake to a fraction of its normal size. The result was a large stockpile of dead fish. 

For the visiting eagles it means open season and easy pickings. Graham estimates Bean Lake attracts 3,000 to 4,000 eagles in an average winter. He counted 200 of them Tuesday alone.

He said they fly in from places like Minnesota and Wisconsin. But he warns bird watchers they may not stick around once the fish are eaten and the weather turns colder. 

"If the weather gets too rough they'll head on south," Graham said.

The conservation department says both mature bald eagles and immature eagles flocked to the lake late last week. The area has also attracted snow geese and other waterfowl.

RELATED | Live webcam of bald eagle's in Florida: http://tinyurl.com/bgmj5gz

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