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This is a contributing entry for Upper Wisconsin Eagle Watch Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
The River Walk and spotting scope in Sauk City, located just a block north of the Hwy. 12 bridge off Water Street, offers a panoramic view of the river and the eagles’ flyway up and down the river. Occasionally, they also can be spotted perched in trees across the river, but this is mainly the eagles’ interstate for movement between perching up and down river. Ducks, geese, and gulls also like the sheltered shores of the river here. The parking area here is open any time.

Water, Dock, Waterway, Park

Water, Water resources, River, Reservoir

Use the spotting scope not only to examine perched eagles but also the hill located across the river from you. This hill is the terminal moraine, the place where glaciers stopped advancing and began their most recent retreat. Everything on your side of the river is now known as the ‘Driftless Area’ meaning that no glacial drift (deposits of rock and soil) can be found. Imagine a wall of ice facing you some 12,000 years ago. The sand beneath your feed is the outwash material that the glacier released as it melted.

Eagles gather here not because of the sand but because of what the sand does. The shallow, constantly changing sandy channel of the Wisconsin River provides diverse and productive habitats for many species of fish, gizzard shad being one of the eagle’s favorites. The shad populations boom and bust along the Wisconsin River and when they boom, eagles eat well. But shad are small fish and you might easily miss an eagle eating one. Watch the fishing eagles carefully. When they swoop down and grab something from the water what their head. If they lower their head to their talons, then the caught a fish, or a piece of fish and the morsel is quickly swallowed all while the bird continues its flight back to a perch.