Monroe power plant attracts annual flock of bald eagles

Wildlife habitat preservation near DTE Energy plant has become annual winter resort for bald eagles


MONROE, Mich. – You can call it a vacation resort for bald eagles, right here in Monroe.

Apparently the accommodations are so good they keep coming back year after year. It doesn't get much better than this for bald eagles this time of year.

"They don't like to be disturbed. Usually you see them lined up in the trees here," said Matthew Shackelford, a senior engineer with DTE Energy.

More video: Bald eagles flock to Monroe power plant

Shackelford knows a lot about the travels of these people-shy birds. For more than 10 years bald eagles from northern Michigan and Canada have chosen the Monroe DTE Energy power plant as their top choice to beat the winter blues.

"This is a major migratory flyway for bird migration. The Atlantic and Mississippi cross in this area and so a lot of birds migrate through here," said Shackelford.

On the 800 acres along Lake Erie that DTE has set aside for wildlife habitat preservation, nearly 200 bald eagles call this place home from November to March. It may seem like a strange destination but the birds are drawn to the habitat because of the plant's warm water discharge that provides easy access to fish.

Moreover, there's a large wooded area where they can roost and play in peace.

Shackelford says the sight never gets old.

"They are our nation's bird. They are majestic. When you get to see them close up it's amazing how big they are," he said.

This is not unusual. Eagles also spend winters at power plants in other cold weather states.