Hill Country Park celebrates first bald eagle sighting of the season
There’s no other way to say it, folks: the eagle has landed.
Eagle Canyon Natural Park and Complex, located in the Highland Lakes region along Buchanan Lake near the Hill Country community of Burnet, reports that he had his first sighting of the season of an adult bald eagle on August 1.
The sighting, which comes months earlier than the first normal sighting of the season, was noted after an eagle-eyed resort staff member spotted the bird, a species that typically returns to the area from October to March for the nesting season. This is when bird watchers and nature lovers flock to the park and its surroundings in hopes of catching a glimpse of the majestic American bald eagle.
Birds – which mate for life and usually only do so once a year, often laying only one to three eggs – create nests that are reused and added each year. An eagle’s nest, the largest of all North American birds, can be 4 to 5 feet wide and 2 to 4 feet deep, although park experts say some can grow to 10 feet wide and weigh 1000 pounds.
The American bald eagle, a species that has long been the national emblem of the United States, was listed as endangered in 1967, but thanks to conservation efforts it was removed from the list in 2007.
Bald eagles thrive in the cliffs of the Colorado River and Lake Buchanan, as it is an area abundant for their prime meals: fish and waterfowl. Immature eagles – those without the white head and tail feathers – sometimes stay in the area year round until they reach their breeding age at 4 or 5 years old. Their average lifespan, depending on the park, is around 15 to 20 years when living in the wild.
Fun fact: Bald Eagles aren’t exactly bald. The name derives from an obsolete reference to the phrase “white head” and adult men and women look roughly the same, although women are about 25% fatter than men.
The United States has some 60 million bird watchers, many of them in the Central Texas area. Bird watchers looking to spread their wings with an eagle sighting can visit the 940-acre nature park year-round. Park fees include access to 14 miles of nature trails, 3 miles of private lakefront, and food or drink at the resort’s restaurant and park store.
Overnight stays are also available, and the resort has 61 lodge-style rooms, as well as RV and camping sites. Rooms start at $ 159-179 per night, and overnight guests have access to additional amenities, including the Eagle Eye Observatory, a two-hour guided boat cruise, and a variety of nature programs.