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Bald Eagles Make Their Winter Appearance

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Bald eagles are a rare sight, but even more uncommon is to find them in the middle of a busy city. But for the fourth year in a row, a bald eagle pair has returned to Wichita.

They've been here for a little over a week now, and with the arrival of the eagles also came the avid group of bird watchers hoping this will be the year they'll see the pair produce eaglets.

"It's fascinating to watch and it's wildlife right here, in the middle of the city," said eagle watcher Charlayne Talley.

For the fourth year in a row, two bald eagles have returned to the Wichita area, ready to begin rebuilding their nest on the island at Twin Lakes.

"Oh my goodness I saw Mr. and Mrs. eagle," said eagle watcher Tilly Schultz. "And what a marvelous sight to see; they were beautiful, they were awesome."

People like Talley spend their winters documenting the lives of these birds.

"There's a small group of us that really follow these eagles, observe them and photograph them," said Talley. "But we're all about the eagles, so that's why we call ourselves the eagle paparazzi."

Charlayne tries to see the birds at least once a day, and spends upwards of two hours at a time watching them.

"I observe their routine and their habits, and of course take pictures," Talley said.

She's not alone. Each day, people gather, waiting for their chance to sneak a peek at the rare sight.

"Oh there's so much excitement," Talley said. "You have people with binoculars, you have people with little cell phone cameras, you have people with huge lenses."

"Everybody's hoping they get a glance of them," Schultz said.

Last year, the eagles were here until the beginning of March, so if history holds true there's still plenty of time to get a glimpse of their glory.

Charlayne says that right as the sun rises provides the best opportunity to catch the eagles, but don't expect to see them on your first visit.

"There's sometimes that you come out here and you don't see them at all," Talley said. "it's just a matter of timing and luck."

While the bird watchers are hopeful that this might be the year the couple produces off-spring, for right now, they're just glad they survived another year.

"We're just all thankful that they came back again this year," Talley said.

When viewing the eagles, be careful not to get too close or scare them. Repeated disturbances could drive the birds from the nest.
And bothering the birds can also be illegal because bald eagles are protected by the Bald Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


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