Bald Eagle

Majestic Bald Eagles: Right Here on Lake Champlain!

You don’t have to travel to Alaska to see Bald Eagles. Early Spring is a great time to see these majestic birds along the shores of Lake Champlain. As the temperature warms, eagles are more likely to be on the move. Resident birds who over-winter on the Lake are getting ready to nest. “Snowbird” eagles that sought warmer locales during the winter are returning to Lake Champlain nesting sites. Northern migrants are stopping over to rest and fish the bountiful waters of Lake Champlain on their way to Canada.

Where are the best places to see eagles along the Lake?  Eagles prefer nesting and perching sites high above the water, so steep shores and hillsides with tall trees such as white pine are good places to look. You may also see eagles flying over any point on the Lake. Bring binoculars and scan the sky, remembering that immature individuals lack the familiar all-white head of mature bald eagles.

Bald EagleA good way to distinguish soaring eagles from Turkey Vultures is by looking at the bird’s wings. Eagles glide with their wings straight out from their body, while vulture wings form a V-shape. Bald eagles boast a six-foot-wide wing span! Eagles tend to be most active in the hours right after sunrise and just before sunset. Remember to avoid disturbing eagles. Stay at least one-quarter mile away from any eagle and be as quiet as possible.

Looking for scenic hiking trails where you might see an eagle? Check out Butternut Hill Natural Area in North Hero, Round Pond State Park in South Hero, and Shelburne Farms.  These natural areas have great eagle habitat.  You may also see eagles at our other conserved areas. See our Hike and Paddle page for directions and guides, and be sure to keep an eye to the sky!