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Prime time for viewing eagles in northern California.

Prime time for viewing eagles in northern California

This month, two locations attract large convocations of eagles and eagle experts, giving you the chance to get better acquainted with these majestic raptors.

On the California-Oregon border, the Klamath Basin is refuge to 500 or more bald eagles, making it probably the bird's largest winter-long roost in the lower 48 states. The concentration peaks this month. You can also attend a conference here February 14 through 16 (in Klamath Falls, Oregon) and go bird-watching with the conference's eagle experts.

One of the best viewing sites is near Worden, about 11 miles south of Klamath Falls. You may see anywhere from a handful to hundreds of bald eagles heading out from their nighttime roost in Bear Valley Refuge to feeding grounds near Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges. They'll stay in the area until the ice starts breaking up, usually around March.

From Worden, take U.S. 97 south 3/4 mile, turn right at the sign to Keno, then go left after crossing the railroad tracks. Continue almost a mile, park along the road, and look toward the northwest--the eagles fly out about 2 hours after sunrise.

You can join dawn field trips to the Worden fly-out through this year's Bald Eagle Conference at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Experts give lectures, though most of those attending are amateur birders; families are welcome. The agenda includes nature films and workshops on photography and bird identification. Cost is $25; for details, write or call Katie Ardt, 4647 Miller Island Rd., Klamath Falls 97603; (503) 882-6432.

Near King City in Monterey County, bald and golden eagles gather at Lake San Antonio. Through March 2, 2-hour Eagle Watch tours start at 10 A.M. and 1 P.M. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The $7.50 cost includes a house-boat ride out from South Shore Resort for close-up observation. New this year, a champagne brunch and eagle tour ($15) start at 9 A.M. February 9. Reservations are required: call (800) 822-2267. Dress for rain and bring binoculars.

Photo: Mature bald eagle is identified by white head and tail, large hooked bill
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Date:Feb 1, 1986
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