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How about some eagle watching?

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Eagle Awareness weekend is back at Lake Guntersville State Park. The yearly event started in the eighties by Linda Reynolds who is the first naturalist for the Alabama State parks. The activities kick off today and run through Sunday. Naturalists in the park hope to maintain a culture of awareness to protect the Bald Eagle and other bird species. Indya Guthrie is the Park Naturalist at Lake Guntersville State Park. She explains what to expect during the event.

“We do guided tours, obviously Bald Eagle nest, bird watching events. And then we bring programs into the lodge, where they bring their live birds into the ballroom and they fly them around the room. [They] teach people about their anatomy and how they are important to the environment,” said Guthrie.

The website Outdoor Alabama says the Eagle Awareness Weekends began in 1985 alongside a bald eagle restoration program in Alabama. A loss of habitat, pesticide use and poaching throughout the nation had pushed eagle populations almost to extinction. The Alabama Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Nongame Wildlife Program began Alabama’s restoration project in 1984. From 1985-1991, close to one hundred bald eagles were released throughout the state. Today, bald eagles are a more common sight in Alabama than in decades past. Indya Guthrie at Lake Guntersville State Park says the event is a unique experience.

“It is an opportunity to see lots of different species of birds that you don’t get to see up close. You get to have personal interactions with birds and naturalists that work all over the state of Alabama," she said. "You also have the opportunity to go out in a controlled environment to go see birds in the wild and their nests.”

Eagle Awareness weekend was started in the eighties by Linda Reynolds who is the first naturalist for the Alabama State parks. Reynolds says she wanted to raise awareness of bald eagles and their declining members. The event has weekend passes and daily passes are only offered on Saturday mornings. The last weekend to attend is February third.

Valentina Mora is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is an international student from Colombia at The University of Alabama. She is majoring in Communicative Disorders and Foreign Languages and Literature. She is part of the Blount Scholars Program and is also pursuing a minor in Music. Although she is not studying to become a journalist, Valentina enjoys reporting, interviewing and writing stories.
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