(Continue with the story of a staff-conducted eagle tour below the tour specifics)
“Everything Eagles” van tours specifics:
- Tours are full, but you can call to check for cancellations at the number below; Tours begin Jan. 23.
- Participants meet at the Golden Pond Visitor Center at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
- Tours begin at 1 p.m. and last until 4:30 p.m. Reservations are required.
- The next tour is on Jan. 30, same time, same place.
- The last tour is Feb. 6.
- Guides take along extra binoculars and high-power scopes to zero in on eagles and give those on the tour a closer look at how America’s national symbol lives in the wild.
Reservations are required. Some tours are full. Call to check for cancellations at (270) 924-1131, ext. 191.
Visit http://lbl.org for more information, and also visit the LBL blog at http://www.landbetweenthelakes.blogspot.com/.
Continuing with the story of the LBL staff-led tour:
Tour participants have the opportunity to view bald eagles through a powerful telescoping lens. With binoculars, a birder can tell coloring of feathers, but it takes a scope to make out details of the birds and their giant nests.
View an eagle’s nest on a live camera at this nature watch site: http://www.fs.fed.us/outdoors/naturewatch/eaglecam.html
Land Between the Lakes staff tour guides suggest picking up the most expensive scope you can afford, noting that a Cabella catalog is a good place to find them. They estimated the scopes they use for the tours run them around $1,000.
Participants had exited the van and walked a short dirt path into the woods to watch eagles from afar. Now they make their way back down the path to the van, and before long the group is headed to its last destination: Smith Bay.
This is where eagles are known to settle in for the night, the guide says.
A tight squeeze
The group didn’t see any eagles there but was still kept occupied with a device brought along by guides that demonstrates how much less grip strength a human has when compared to an eagle.
This handheld tool records grip in pounds per square inch.
“Where’d you get that thing, EagleSqueezer.com?” somebody hollers out.
“Get a grip!” another person quips as people wait for an opportunity to see how well they measure up when squeezing the grip.
A reporter’s grip was at 40 pounds per square inch, “not too shabby for a woman,” we were told. The highest number out of the whole lot — men and women — was 150 pounds per square inch.
That number put everyone to shame. An eagle can squeeze 1,000 pounds per square inch with its talons.
That’s equivalent to crushing a baseball, says John Workman, one of three LBL hosts who ferries passengers in search of eagles each year.
In tomorrow’s story: Arrive early in the morning to see more wildlife up close, from fallow deer and white-tailed deer to waterfowl and wild turkey.