Special guests invited to observe bald eagles thriving in Monroe

MONROE, Mich. – Once a year, 60 members of the public are given a chance to see the winter home of an iconic bird of prey at the Monroe power plant.

For the 10th year, DTE Energy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service opened its gates to the lucky few whose names were chosen from thousands of applicants.

All eyes were on the bald eagles coasting along Plum Creek Bay.

“You don’t see how big they are untill they’re close,” said biologist Kristen LeForce. “That’s a giant bird out there.”

The lucky lottery winners were able to observe bald eagles in their natural environment. It’s an experience that wasn’t always possible. About 20 years ago, there were hardly any bald eagles in the area, but nearly 80 were spotted in December. The local population is coming back due, in part, to regulations on pesticides and pollution.

The bald eagle was declared the national bird and has been on the national emblem since 1782. The spiritual importance of the bald eagle to many Native Americans dates back thousands of years. In the 1950s, there were only 412 nesting pairs in the Contiguous United States. According to the Michigan Wildlife Council, there are more than 800 nesting pairs in Michigan as of 2019.

The bald eagle was removed from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007.

At the Monroe Power Plant on Lake Erie, the iconic bird of prey brought generations of birdwatchers together.

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