Do you remember the first time you spotted a bald eagle in the wild? Perhaps, if you're from the north, it may be more commonplace than for someone from the south. Regardless, they truly are majestic creatures to behold.
Clearly, someone on Kalamazoo's Reddit page was very excited to spot a bald eagle when they posted:
Spotted a bald eagle in Kalamazoo today! South of 94, west of Oakland, east of 131. Noticed a large dark bird that had a flat wing when soaring - not a dihedral like Turkey vultures, and saw the flash of a white tail several times. I did not see it’s head, though. I pulled off Oakland to get a better look and by the time I got my car pointing west, it was gone :( But, happy to have seen it!
The great news is, bald eagles are not as rare as they used to be. In fact, according to this article from detroitnews.com, their population has quadrupled since 2009 and they've done very well in Michigan. The article goes on to say that they,
are now a common sight around lakes, rivers and wetlands in Michigan.
This fact was confirmed by the numerous comments from locals who pointed out different spots around Portage where you might be able to spot a bald eagle or even a bald eagle's nest.
You can see all of the comments on the original Reddit post here. Let's go over a few of the lakeside locations:
Before we begin, please note all birds' nests should be observed from a distance. Please, do not disturb the nests.
Where to Possibly Spot Bald Eagles & Their Nests Around Portage:
1. West Lake
According to u/M7SJ9,
There are some on West Lake. I have some pretty good videos of one messing with some ducks from a few years ago. My buddy still lives there and just saw one last week. It's a pretty awesome sight.
While the user didn't specifically mention the preserve around West Lake, the trails will take you directly to the lake. As you enjoy nature, make sure you keep a sharp eye out for any bald eagles.
2. Long Lake/Ramona Park
Mentioned by u/Kmcgr577,
There’s one that lives around long lake area in portage. Saw one fly pretty low over the soccer fields over on zylman! It was pretty cool!
The Long Lake area is, as the name suggests, pretty long. However, Ramona Park sits on Long Lake. Maybe you'll have some luck there.
3. Gravel Lake/Cedar Lake
There's one on or around Gravel Lake/Cedar Lake south of Lawton
The area between Cedar Lake and Gravel Lake is pretty extensive. And, unfortunately, there aren't any parks on the shore of either lake. Or, at least, they're not listed on Google Maps. But, keep your eye out if you find yourself driving around this area.
Now, you may be thinking, "Okay those are sightings of fully grown bald eagles. What about the nests?"
Well, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Adults will stay on their territory (roughly 1 - 6 square miles) year round as long as there is open water nearby where they can hunt.
So, chances are if you spot a bald eagle around the Portage area (or any area) their nest may be close by. Read more here.
Of course, if you travel through northern Michigan you'll most likely spot many bald eagles. If you happen to be making your way to Traverse City, this winery tour guide may help you plan your trip: