Elgin library becomes hangout for eagles

February 13, 2012 4:19:23 PM PST
There are more than books to see at a library in Elgin. The Gail Borden Public Library has become the hangout for eagles.

It is not just one or two eagles that have taken up temporary residential along the Fox River in Elgin, but over a half a dozen of the majestic birds. For the bird watchers, the library offers a great vantage point.

"It is exciting because you see the nesting and the birds flying and there is a certain energy that you get from doing, just from watching it," said bird enthusiast Dan Wiseman.

The eagles have become quite a draw for the library since they started to arrive about two weeks ago.

"What we do find is we see more people on the grounds of the library with binoculars but also see more people in the river room and I would guess it's maybe 20 to 30 people a day," said the library's Denise Raleigh.

According to bird experts it's too early to say if any of them will stay in this location but it does offer excellent amenities for eagles. A dam helps keep at least a small part of the Fox River free from ice and that makes it easy for the eagles to catch one of their favorite meals, fish. Just north of the library and the dam is a water treatment facility that also offered some benefits for all birds in the area.

It's warm water coming out, as well as a certain level of solutes in the water that will attract the fish so it's good feeding there," said Elgin Academy biologist Roberta Nabor.

Ninety-five percent of their diet is fish with care carrion making up the rest. While spotting eagles is not unheard of, it is rare.

"I volunteer out at a prairie in Poplar Creek and there are some there but we have never had the pleasure of seeing an eagle out in the wild," said Elgin Academy bird enthusiast Connor Flexman.

For now, folks are just enjoying the unique opportunity to observe one of nature's truly remarkable creatures.

"They're so fun to look at, we just love them, said the library's Liz Clemmons. "It makes this place even more special."