Eagle watcher flocking to Sanpete

 

Fountain Green Hatchery hosting
Saturday viewing event

 

By Lyle Fletcher

Staff writer

Feb. 8, 2018

 

FOUNTAIN GREEN—Observing bald eagles in the wild in Sanpete County and learning about the man behind our national bird can be made more meaningful with a little preparation.

Bald eagles can be seen in Utah this month and on Saturday in Fountain Green near the fish hatchery.

Did you know the bald eagle was chosen as the national bird in 1782 because the Continental Congress gave Charles Thomson, the man behind our national bird, the task of designing the Great Seal of the United States of America?

Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has designated February as Bald Eagle Month in Utah and has set up a number of sites to view bald eagles this month.

According to the DWR website, this month is the best time for bald eagle viewing since hundreds migrate into the state.

Did you know the Great Seal of the United States of America is found on the back of every one-dollar bill? Note the eagle is facing the olive branch (looking toward peace) and not the arrows (looking away from war).

The DWR used to hold a free eagle-viewing day at one location and now has five different free events at various locations, of which Fountain Green is one.

Matt Bartley, special events coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the agency has expanded its former Bald Eagle Day to include several Saturdays of viewing.

“Holding viewing events at different times, in different parts of the state, will give folks across Utah the best chance to see the greatest number of eagles,” Bartley said.

Did you know Thomson gave the symbolic meaning to each part of the Great Seal? For instance, he said the shield or escutcheon borne “on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters” denotes “that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue.”

The eagle viewing on Saturday takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery.

Did you know that on the Great Seal, the words “annuit coeptis” essentially mean God has favored our undertakings? This indicates Thomson’s belief in God’s hand in the formation of this nation. In addition, Thomson said concerning the Revolutionary War, “We are wholly indebted to the agency of Providence for its successful issue.”

At the hatchery, obtain a driving map of the Sanpete Valley that highlights the best areas to see eagles. The DWR website states: “Spotting scopes will be set up at a nearby location where eagles often gather in a large tree. The viewing site is about one mile from the hatchery.”

Biologists and volunteers will help viewers find eagles to see and answer questions

Did you know Thomson was the secretary of the Continental Congress for every year it was held (1774-1789)? As secretary, he was one of the two men who signed the original copy of the Declaration of Independence—John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress at the time, being the other one.

Free Bald Eagle Month buttons will be available, along with free handouts and information about bald eagles.

Did you know Thomson was known for his honesty and integrity? If he signed a document, people knew they could trust it completely. And Thomson was called in his day “life of the cause of liberty.”

Free tours of the hatchery are also available, along with literature, displays and bathroom facilities.

Did you know that, for his last duty as secretary of the Continental Congress, Thomson was given the signal honor of personally delivering to George Washington at Mount Vernon the unanimous results of the presidential election of April 6, 1789?

The DWR website also recommends wearing warm clothes and waterproof boots.

Did you know Thomson was a humble, devout believer in Jesus Christ? In his later years he worked diligently to translate the Bible from Greek into English—the first complete translation of the Septuagint into English. He also created a harmony of the four Gospels of the New Testament—using his own translation.

For those who want to take photos of the eagles, Bartley recommends a telephoto lens for good, close-up shots.

As most people know, a bald eagle isn’t really bald (meaning no feathers on its head).

It is called bald because the word “bald” can also mean “marked with white.”

And it’s nice to know the bald eagle is on the rebound, since it was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007.

Other locations for eagle viewing in Utah this month can be found at http://go.usa.gov/xnG8n.