Bald Eagle Killed While Hitting Power Lines in Des Plaines Near River Rd and Algonquin Rd

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A Des Plaines Police Department Community Service Officer responded about 10:45 a.m. Thursday, November 15, 2018 to the area of the block of 1100 South River Road in Des Plaines after witnesses saw a Bald Eagle hit power lines and fall to the sidewalk. The witnesses found the Bald Eagle dead on the sidewalk, and called the police.

Birds often land on power line, but they perch with both feet on one power line, which doesn’t harm the birds. The American Eagle apparently struck two lines simultaneously, which caused lethal electricity to pass through the Bald Eagle in Des Plaines.

Bald Eagles live longer in captivity. In the wild, Bald Eagles can live as long as 30 years, but their average lifespan is closer to 20 years. According to the Southern Ontario Bald Eagle Monitoring Program (Google search), the oldest known Bald Eagle was a captive eagle in West Stephentown, New York that lived almost 50 years.

The area along River Road between Miner Street and Algonquin Road is just west of the Des Plaines River. Bald Eagles have been spotted along the Des Plaines River near Des Plaines before. Bald Eagles have also been sighted up high in trees near Elmhurst Road and Willow Road near Isaak Walton Park, and up high in trees in Busse Woods in Elk Grove just south of I-90 and west of Arlington Heights Road.

Every winter, more than 3,100 bald eagles winter in their natural habitat in Illinois – more wintering American bald eagles arrive in Illinois compared to any other state outside Alaska, according to an official web page of the State of Illinois (Bald Eagles in Illinois) . According to State of Illinois officials, the first eagles of the season are spotted in Illinois in December and remain in residence until they migrate back north in March. January and February is the optimal time for visitors to see eagles.

Bald eagles have been found wintering throughout Illinois at locations including the Illinois and Michigan Canal and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in northeast Illinois; near the entire length of the Illinois River; along open waters on the Du Page River and Fox River in northeast Illinois; Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry; at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Ingleside; along the Des Plaines River near Channahon State Park, Channahon; near the I-88 bridge in North Aurora on the Fox River; on the Fox River at the Pleasant Valley Forest Preserve in Woodstock; and, along the Rock River at locations including Lowden State Park, Oregon, Illinois.

When hunting “from the wing” or aerial hunting, eagles travel at a mid-altitude of 17-34 50-100 feet above the ground and will dive feet first to capture prey. Bald Eagles breed in November in Florida and are known to breed in late February or March in southern Minnesota, and April to May in northern Minnesota and Alaska.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considers the magnificent American bald eagle as protected.



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