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Upper Wisconsin Eagle Watch Tour

Created by Mark Polczynski on December 2nd 2020, 9:24:30 pm.

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Introduction: Eagles wintering along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway form the largest Bald Eagle winter population that resides entirely within Wisconsin. Although the Lower Wisconsin Riverway extends from the dam at Prairie du Sac to the junction of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, eagles winter along the Lower Wisconsin River primarily from Prairie du Sac to Lone Rock, a distance of 32 river miles, and they also move extensively up and down this corridor. To improve your chances of seeing eagles, whether eagles are located mostly up or down river, we have split the self-guided tour into an Upper Wisconsin River Wintering Eagle Watch Tour and a Lower Wisconsin River Wintering Eagle Watch Tour.” Tour Part 1: Welcome to the Upper Wisconsin River Wintering Eagle Watch Tour. The tour is composed of two sections, this being Section 1, the other section being the Lower Wisconsin River Tour. The tour is broken into two sections because eagles sometimes concentrate mostly up river and sometimes concentrate mostly down river. Please see the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council Facebook page at for recommendations on which tour to take based on where the most eagles are located at any given time during the winter. You can access the other route at Suggested driving routes from one tour stop to the next are shown, but feel free to visit tour stops in any order. Both tour sections can be started from the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce office. See the Chamber of Commerce tour stop for directions on how to get there. Eagles gather along the Lower Wisconsin River and adjoining agricultural lands in winter. This convocation of eagles is possible because the dam at Prairie du Sac keeps a significant portion of the Wisconsin River from freezing. Of equal importance, traditional communal roosts occur in bluffs located adjacent to the river and provide a safe place where eagles sleep at night. Undeveloped river shoreline allows for undisturbed feeding and agricultural lands provide open space where carrion can be found. All four of these habitat elements combined allow eagles to concentrate along the Lower Wisconsin from Lone Rock to Prairie du Sac during winter. Within the Lower Wisconsin River, however, eagles often shift their distribution as snow and ice conditions vary. Typically, when ice is abundant on the river or snow is deep in agricultural areas, eagles can be found primarily in the up-river stretch from the Prairie du Sac Dam to the river area near Mazomanie. During warmer weather, when little ice is found on the river or snow in agricultural areas, few eagles use the upper stretch of river and concentrate along the river from Mazomanie to Lone Rock. Pay attention to the conditions around you to estimate where you should go to view the most eagles or visit our Facebook page at If the river is full of ice, visit the up-river sections. If the river is open, visit the down-river sections. At any time, enjoy your viewing of eagles and appreciate just how dynamic eagle distribution can be in winter! Note that you are outside in winter so please dress accordingly. For the best viewing, some sights require a short hike through the snow.