About 200 bald eagles have made Michigan’s largest power plant at Monroe their winter home.
The phenomena of the majestic raptors wintering at DTE Energy’s 800-acre Lake Erie power plant in record numbers is may be a patriotic silver lining in the Polar Vortex that has battered Michiganders this winter.
The attraction is warm open water flowing from the spillway of the plant, located about 35 miles southwest of Detroit. It makes for easy fishing for the eagles, who glide into the waters and snag gizzard shad, their preferred fish.
DTE Energy has set aside land behind the massive plant to allow iconic birds to roost in privacy, according to an Associated Press report.
DTE Energy wildlife biologist Matthew Shackelford has been tracking eagles at the plant for about a dozen years, and has seen their numbers grow from only a handful to this year’s spectacular population.
Skiles Boyd, DTE Energy’s vice president for environmental management and resources, said the dozens of eagles soaring on 6- to 7-foot wing spans are a sight to behold.
“It’s a fantastic sight,” he said. “You never get to see that kind of thing anywhere else in those kinds of numbers.”The return of the bald eagle in significant numbers is considered an American conservation success story. The eagle was removed from the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007, and Michigan’s list two years later.