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Oregon's Lake Billy Chinook

North of Bend, you can stand atop basalt cliffs to see migratory and resident bald and golden eagles coexist in a lake basin.

Bald eagle at Lake Billy Chinook, image
Photo credit
Photo: Steve Bly/Alamy
Photo caption
Peak viewing season for migratory bald eagles north of Bend, Ore., is January through March.

Two bald eagles spiraling through the air with talons locked in a courtship ritual is an uncommon sight for most people, even for avid birders. But that’s just the kind of spectacle visitors enjoy at Lake Billy Chinook north of Bend, Ore. From steep, 700-foot basalt cliffs above the lake basin you look down at 50 or more migratory bald eagles and another 40 resident bald and golden eagles. Peak viewing season runs January through March.

“We get to observe their mating behavior, their diving, fishing, and fighting,” says Paul Patton, an interpretive coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “Every once in a while we are treated to a really close eagle flyby.”

Stop in at Round Butte Overlook Park on February 23 and 24 for Eagle Watch, a free, family-oriented weekend event sponsored by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Portland General Electric, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, whose members will be on hand to entertain visitors with drumming, dancing, and storytelling. Thanks to the cliff-top lookout, the assembled eagle watchers don’t bother the birds. (541) 546-3412,

This article was first published in January 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.