BRANSON, MO, July 17, 2013 –Along with viewing magnificent vistas, beautiful stone cliffs carved by the mighty White River, wild life and the constantly changing beauty of Lake Taneycomo’s shoreline thousands of passengers aboard Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen sightseeing trips have met “Lake Taneycomo’s Bald Eagles”. Although from time to time, especially during the winter months, other Bald Eagles visit Lake Taneycomo short periods of time, the pair of Bald Eagles referred to in this piece as the “Lake Taneycomo’s Bald Eagles” are have been nesting downstream from the junction of Roark Creek and Lake Taneycomo virtually year round for the last few years providing a rare opportunity to see these majestic birds in the wild on a fairly “regular” basis.
Bald Eagles, are “Raptors,” birds of prey, having an average length of 36 inches, a wing span of 84 inches and a voracious appetite for fish. Lake Taneycomo’s Bald Eagles have had their picture taken on more than one occasion feasting on one of the trout that makes Lake Taneycomo one of the finest trout fisheries in America.
They have one of the largest nests of any bird which can be up to seven feet across and ten feet deep. The nest of the Lake Taneycomo’s Bald Eagles is located a short distance back from the banks of Lake Taneycomo and is best observed in the spring before the foliage blocks the view. The eagles themselves however, are often seen sitting in trees right on the banks of Lake Taneycomo providing an excellent opportunity for photos of these majestic birds.
Although many people have seen Lake Taneycomo’s Eagles at various times, including the eaglets “emerging” from the nest, according to Leah Eden, Naturalist, for the Missouri Department of Conservation, no official records have been kept of the number of eaglets born each year etc. She said that typically, each pair will have two eaglets. When asked if the parents will kill the weaker eaglet she indicated that what could happen, in a situation where food is scarce, is that the one born first, generally the stronger, will survive, because it gets the majority of the food.
When asked why, based on the number of years they have been nesting on Lake Taneycomo, there were not more Bald Eagles permanently around she said that after fledging, getting feathers and leaving the nest, there is a gradual process where they leave their home nesting area. For the next couple of years the immature eagles travel seeking food as they reach maturity and find a mate. Bald Eagles mate for life.
No one knows exactly how old Lake Taneycomo’s Eagles are, but the average life expectancy is about 20 years. Meanwhile, one of more or these majestic birds are observed quite frequently from those boating or fishing on Lake Taneycomo. Quite often, while on a sightseeing cruise aboard Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen or a dinner cruise on the Landing Princess they will stop the boat just so that people can take pictures of Branson’s natural stars, the Lake Taneycomo Eagles. How many places can one go and have the opportunity of sharing something like that with their family? Not many, not many at all and once shared, it will be a memory not soon forgotten.