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Stella's Population Expected to Skyrocket Saturday for Eagle Day - KOAM TV 7

Stella's Population Expected to Skyrocket Saturday for Eagle Day

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STELLA, MO -

At least a thousand people are expected to flock to the small town of Stella, Missouri to watch the bald eagles.

9-year-old Abby Miller says "They're just cool to see because they're so big and pretty."

The Millers traveled down to Joplin to catch a glimpse of the magnificent birds.

Abby’s brother Austin says "I haven't seen very many eagles except for around here."

"We saw at least 60 around this area over here,” Abby says.

Anywhere from late October to March several thousand bald eagles winter in Missouri, several hundred near Stella, preying on fish and waterfowl that they follow south.

Kevin Badgley with the Missouri Department of Conservation says “They’ll come from the central part of Canada, the Northern States, anywhere around the Great Lakes, any of those large bodies of water that typically would hold a lot of eagles during the rest of the year. And then they'll follow their way down. We're in the Mississippi Flyway so we get a lot of those waterfowl. And so the eagles are just right on their coat tails."

There are about 250 active nests in Missouri, several along the outer edge of Stella. Unlike their parents, the younger birds do not grow white crest and tail feathers till they're mature around age four or five. Lifelong mating partners and their offspring usually return to the same spot to nest every year.

Badgley says "Missouri, because of where we're at right here in the middle of the United States…but we're so fortunate to have all the big water. We've got the Missouri, Mississippi, a lot of great waterways. And also we have manmade lakes. So this an opportune place to come and view these beautiful birds."

Abby says "They're more fun to watch then probably any other bird."

The Missouri Department of Conservation is hosting Eagle Day tomorrow from 10am to 3pm at the Veteran's Memorial Park.

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