DES MOINES, Iowa–– Chances are if you see a bald eagle, either soaring in the sky or roosting near the top of a tree, you’ll pause and watch for a while. The majestic birds, once an endangered species, are now abundant in Des Moines over the winter. While some live here year around, many stop in Des Moines looking for open water as rivers and lakes to the north freeze.
The dams at Center and Scott Streets offer the open water and the fish the eagles feed on. Mature eagles, with their namesake white heads and distinctive white tails, are joined by juvenile eagles in the skies and treetops along the Des Moines River. As spring approaches and ice melts in the rivers the eagle population shrinks but doesn’t disappear.