Eagles in Utah
Bald eagles in Utah are generally migratory and begin to appear in late November and stay around till the winter thaw in March. It is estimated that over 1,000 eagles migrate into Utah every year! Some of these birds head for the canyon country of southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado to winter. Bald eagles are often seen in groups near stretches of water because one of their primary food resources is fish.
The Eagle Float is an opportunity to enjoy a full-day trip on a calm stretch of the Colorado River, and to see wintering Bald and Golden Eagles plus many varieties of waterfowl. We will learn about eagle and waterfowl identification, habits, migration, and current issues affecting these species. CFI is joined by guests from Tracy Aviary and other birding experts and our river partners Sheri Griffith Expeditions.
We will report sightings as data to federal and state wildlife agencies. Over the years, the late February/ early March ‘Eagle Float’ sightings have varied from six to fifty eagles on this stretch. Please note that temperatures and conditions can be chilly so proper clothing and footwear is essential. Covid outfitting protocols are in place, there will be a limit of 5 people per raft.
We can run the trip in inclement weather however, a forecast of extreme winds will cause us to cancel/postpone the trip. We will reconfirm with all participants 48 hours prior about the trip status. If we cancel, you have the option for a reschedule, gift certificate to another program or full refund.
The Trip Plan
Participants will meet us “at the take out” location at Westwater Ranger Station early in the morning and park personal vehicles here. CFI will provide transportation to the launch point at the Loma Boat Launch in Colorado near Grand Junction (about 45 minutes 1 way, masks required in vehicles.)
Our group will be in rafts, floating quietly as much as possible though small outboard motors are used at times in order to complete this 25 mile stretch in one day. We will make several stops on shore along the way, including time for lunch. At lunchtime we will hear more about current conservation programs. Throughout the day we will likely see many waterfowl species other than the bald eagles and we may see Bighorn Sheep and Mule Deer as well.
At the Westwater Ranger Station we will convene one final time to close our trip with further discussion about highlights for the day.
What to Bring
- Long Underwear (Polypropylene or wool)
- Wool Socks
- Layers of wool or polypropylene clothing
- Wool hat
- Rain pants and jacket
- Mittens or gloves
- Boots (rubber or snowmobile boots with liners are recommended because your toes will get wet.)
- ALSO Thermos of hot beverage
- Bird book
- Day pack
- If you are interested in learning more about eagles and other raptors before the trip we recommend you check out HawkWatch International’s Raptor ID Fact Sheet.