Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
When the Coast Guard Cutter Alder breaks ice, a common site off the starboard bow is bald eagles searching for snacks.
Not all of the grand birds head south for the winter.
"One of the reasons not all raptors migrate is because of the availability of food. Eagles are scavengers. They're opportunistic. They will eat road kill deer and fish remains from ice fisherman." said raptor expert Sarah Glesner of the Lake Superior Zoo.
The ice is gone now and the eagles that did head south are now on their way back.
Raptor counters in Duluth have already spotted several hundred heading north.
That is great news for a bird that was on the verge of extinction 40 years ago.
"That is a good sign. Numbers fluctuate over the spring season. You can have some days with several hundred and if it is foggy or a lot of precipitation, just a few birds." said Glesner.
Keeping the bald eagle population up in our region and conserving their habitat is important to raptor fans from Hawk Ridge to the Lake Superior Zoo.
"Here at the zoo, we know that along with wildlife conservation comes natural resource conservation." said fellow zoo educator Sarah Wilcox.
The crew at the zoo says the best way to protect, preserve and conserve eagles is to avoid using lead shot while hunting and lead sinkers while fishing.
"A lot of eagles suffer from lead poisoning after ingesting those items so that's one of the biggest things we can do." said Glesner.
In Duluth, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.
To watch bald eagles migrating home this spring, the best viewing places are Skyline Drive and Hawk Ridge in Duluth.