Briana Montgomery, Ozarks News Journal

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Some people may think bald eagles stay in Missouri year round, but that isn’t true. Bald eagles come to nest in Missouri usually around the Great Lakes area.

“The eagles that we have that primarily come to Missouri are going to be bald eagles however on occasion we will see stray golden eagles that will come here. But they don’t normally live in this type of environment,” said Kim Banner of Springfield’s Nature Conservation Center.

Several Springfield residents recently got to enjoy the bald eagles, up close and personal. It was part of the Springfield Nature Conservation Center’s Eagle Days observance. During the summer, bald eagles stay in the upper part of North America and sometimes in Canada. During late November and early December, they come to Missouri to find food.

Bald eagles were once on the endangered species list and were considered pest and a species of concern. But they were actually removed from the Missouri Federal and State endangered species list. The Dickerson Park Zoo, Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife all worked together to bring the eagles back to Missouri.

One of the biggest misconceptions of an eagle is that they will attack, but a nature conservation specialist says otherwise.

“They cannot pick up anything over half their body weight. So, the most they will be able to lift would be about a quarter pound. Physiologically, they can’t attack and    pick things up,” said Price.

The majority of the bald eagles that nest here aren’t seen often. The few that don’t nest here will be leaving Missouri before the summer, heading back up North.