Eagle-Eyed on Rainbow Reservoir

The Nor’easters are (hopefully) over, the docks are in, and many crew teams are taking their first strokes of the spring season. But rowers aren’t the only ones who are enjoying the warmer weather.

Photo: Peter K Burian CC BY-SA 4.0

At Rainbow Reservoir in Windsor, members of Farmington Valley Rowing Association are fortunate to share the water with plenty of wildlife. This section of the Farmington River is home to river otters, herons and bald eagles – to name a few of our neighbors. The bald eagles in particular are an incredible sight to see. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the iconic white-headed birds of prey often spend winters in our state feeding and nesting near areas of open water. And, soon we may be sharing the reservoir with even more eagles! Many pairs lay their eggs by March and have an incubation period of about a month. Once hatched, the chicks are usually able to fly within three months.

The bald eagles you see flying overhead during practice could be the same birds year after year. Eagles usually use the same nest, especially if they were able to successfully raise chicks there previously. They build their large homes high up in the trees. Often the nests can reach five feet in diameter. Many birds add material to the nest each year, increasing its size.

Although bald eagles are no longer on the federal Endangered Species List, they are still protected on the federal level. In Connecticut, they are named as a “State Threatened Species.” The DEEP says it’s important to admire bald eagles from a safe distance so they can remain undisturbed.

Have you ever seen a bald eagle in the wild? The next time you’re out on the water, keep an eagle-eye out for these birds!