Sight for soar eyes: eagle watching

October 21, 1990|By New York Times News Service

Travelers in search of a rare natural spectacle may want to consider Helena, Mont., where one of the nation's largest concentrations of bald eagles is expected to migrate next month and in early December.

Montana naturalists say the eagle migration has grown rapidly over the last three years, with hundreds of the majestic predators drawn to a rich bounty of Kokanee salmon that spawn along a stretch of the Missouri River near Canyon Ferry Village, 20 miles northeast of Helena, the state's capital. Eagles are also observed along the river banks from Canyon Ferry Village to Cascade.

Last year, wildlife officials said, the number of eagles more than doubled, to 220, and this year they project that as many as 400 will join the migration. From a public viewing site, the birds can easily be seen swooping down, their 7-foot wings fully extended.

The best time to view the eagles is from Nov. 9 to Dec. 2. To accommodate visitors, Helena is making plans for its first official eagle-watching weekend, on Dec. 1 and 2. More information: Helena Area Chamber of Commerce, (406) 442-4120.

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