South Dakota Bald Eagle Awareness Days         Bald Eagle Awareness Days
Safe and Responsible Eagle Watching
  • Bald eagles are sensitive to human disturbance. If you disturb birds at a nest site, adults may abandon their eggs or young in the nest. The pair may not renest or produce any young until the following year. Watching eagles during the winter has less impact on the birds, especially if done in a safe and responsible way.

  • Don't disturb or harass wintering eagles, since they are already stressed by the cold and scarcity of food. Scaring eagles away from their food could deprive them of the energy they need to maintain their body temperature through the cold night. Unhealthy eagles generally do not successfully raise young the following spring.

  • Stay at least 300 yards from perched eagles or even farther away during severe weather.

  • Stay in your vehicle when eagle watching, or use some other obstruction, such as a blind or tree.

  • Since eagles feed mainly early in the morning, plan viewing trips for late morning or afternoon.

  • The best time to visit eagle winter feeding areas is from December through February. Eagles return to their nesting areas in late February or early March.

  • Wintering bald eagles are usually found near open water, where water flowing through the dams on rivers keeps the water from freezing. Eagles concentrate in these areas to hunt for fish and injured waterfowl.

  • Watch for other interesting birds near winter eagle sites. The open water attracts many species of waterfowl. Other raptors, such as rough-legged and red-tailed hawks, are frequently seen in the open countryside.

 Bald Eagle Awareness Days

 Watching Eagles


 Educational Activities

Download an eagle brochure (PDF file) by clicking here. Brochures can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks at 523 East Capitol Avenue in Pierre, South Dakota 57501.  If you have questions or comments, email or call the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks at (605) 773-4229.