Find Bald Eagles at Lake Monroe in Indiana

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Few experiences compare to the wonder of spotting a bald eagle in flight. Thanks to Indiana’s bald eagle reintroduction program in the 1980s, there are lots of opportunities to see the once-endangered birds in the Hoosier State today.

Lake Monroe near Bloomington is one of the top locations in the state to see the majestic bald eagle, with around 300 documented species of birds in the region as well as year-round resident pairs of bald eagles.

“There are more than 15 active eagle nests on the property, and those pairs have had chicks hatch out so you can see immature eagles on the lake as the weather permits,” says Rex Watters, a wildlife specialist at Lake Monroe. “We also have migrant eagles here who have not yet nested, so your chances of seeing an immature or mature eagle are pretty good. The immature eagles don’t have the white head and tail until their fourth or fifth year. Between 5 and 7 years old, they have the full white head and tail, and at 5 years old, they are ready to mate and reproduce.”


Photo by Jeff Danielson

Indiana’s Bald Eagle Population

By the early 1990s, bald eagles had been completely gone from Indiana for nearly 100 years due to loss of habitat. The last native eaglet documented to have hatched in Indiana was in 1897. Then, in 1991, the first eaglet was produced as part of Indiana’s bald eagle reintroduction program. That program ran from 1985 through 1989, when eagles were brought to Lake Monroe’s “hack tower” from Alaska and Wisconsin in an effort to rebuild Indiana’s eagle population. “Hacking” refers to the process of taking eaglets from their birthplace before they learn to fly and releasing them in a new area, as eagles tend to consider the first place they fly to be home.

“Generally by February, eagles are on their nest sites. They lay eggs in March and hatch out in April after a 35-day incubation period,” Watters says. “The opportunity to see eagles at Lake Monroe peaks during migration times. January and February are good times if the ice is breaking up because they are able to feed on fish. You have to look at the ice conditions.”

In early spring, as soon as the ice thaws, a flush of birds comes back to feed on frozen dead fish that float to the lake’s surface.

“It’s like a frozen Banquet TV dinner for them,” Watters says. “One time we saw 40 eagles collecting food from the lake.”

November and December can also be good times to spot the eagles, Watters says, though it helps to have a boat for easier viewing.


Photo by Jeff Danielson

Eagle Watching 101

Jeff Danielson lives on the northern edge of Lake Monroe and has been photographing the birds of prey for eight years.

“I slid sideways into bird and nature photography after I bought my first digital camera in 2001,” Danielson says. “I bought one with excellent zoom to take photos of our son playing college soccer, and I found myself sitting at home with this long lens. Since we live out in the country, the rest followed naturally. Until I got my first good shot of an eagle in 2010, I’d not really thought it possible.”

Danielson says Canadian eagles over-winter in places like Indiana, and that, coupled with the lack of leaf cover, makes winter the prime viewing season from land or boat.

“In late spring and summer, though, the parents are more active hunting and fishing to feed their young,” he says.

When looking for eagles, Danielson seeks out shallow areas where large fish are easily spotted and caught.

“Like most predators, eagles are lazy and looking for easy prey. They couldn’t care less if the hunt is a challenge – they just want to find food for their babies at that point,” he says. “In the fall, you’ll see more mating behaviors and playful soaring. Juveniles are engaged in fun and games and practicing their skills. In June, you might get to see siblings testing their new flying skills with slow, low maneuvering.”

In late January, Lake Monroe hosts its annual Eagle Watch Weekend at Fourwinds Resort and Marina. For details, visit


  1. Steve Westlake

    December 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    They fly the St Joseph River in northern Indiana. Best time to see them is the fall and especially the winter when the local lakes freeze over. They then fish the river!

  2. David Plantenga

    March 11, 2018 at 9:09 am

    March 2018
    At least a dozen male and female Bald Eagles 1/4 mile down river of Mississinewa Dam near Peru, Indiana . No nests, all fishing. Take binoculars.

  3. Oj barger

    April 4, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Saw a beautiful one soaring at 37 and Eller today. Carrying food but I couldn’t tell what he had. Gorgeous and so majestic. Truly amazed and do blessed to see.

    • Jamie Wasserman

      August 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Saw one today flying over Fort Wayne near the St. Joe River!

  4. jmdeur

    April 5, 2018 at 6:25 am

    just saw one the other day while driving from columbus to bloomington. was a bit surprised, but now see why he was there – guess the reintroduction program worked.

  5. Larry Ortel

    April 11, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    My wife and I saw an eagle at Thompson Rd. and Gem Rd. south of New Palestine Sunday 4/8/2018.

  6. Neil

    June 14, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Saw one at the end of April sitting on top of a very tall utility pole in Evansville about 3 to 4 miles from the Ohio River it was unbelievable. Watched for a long time ten it flew southwest. 2 days later one flew over head heading southwest. What an amazing thing to see.

  7. Jonathan

    July 30, 2018 at 12:03 am

    We seen one today off of state road 28 by Ridgeville In Randolph County

  8. Mike Grogan

    August 19, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Saw a Bald Ealgle yesterday at Lake Stonebridge in Fishers. What a beatiful sight, hoping it wasn’t a one and done

  9. Robert

    August 20, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I saw a bald eagle on Hudson Lake in LaPorte County while fishing on 8-18-18. First one I’ve ever seen on this lake.

  10. Brenda England

    August 29, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    First I didnt know that u could report where u seen an eagle before I stumbled on to this page. But August 4, 2018, I seen one in a tree by my step dads house right on US 31in Pleasant View addition in Edinburgh Ind. I seen it land then ran out with my phone and video it untill it flew off. What a BEAUTIFUL sight seeing him land in that tree and take back off. Especially in an Addition.

  11. Debra Hall

    September 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    An eagle flew over my car today as I was driving on IN58 just south of Ogilville. It was not terribly high up and just soared in front of me. First time I’ve seen an eagle in the wild.

  12. Lyndsay VanHorn

    September 28, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I saw three flying together on Cartersburg Rd in Danville. They really are beautiful and couldn’t help but to stop what I was doing to watch them!

  13. Amy Barber

    September 30, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    My husband and I were fishing on Morse Reservoir today and a full grown adult flew right over head. It was beautiful!!! So excited to see him so close.

  14. TaraUB

    November 23, 2018 at 10:53 am

    A pair lives along Eagle Creek (actual creek not reservoir) behind Alison Transmission near 10th Street in Indianapolis. There was a dead tree that they would sit in but that tree blew down in a recent storm.

  15. Tyler R Giver

    December 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Just seen one on 200 North in Farmland Indiana. Was a Beautiful bird.

  16. Kristie

    December 21, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Saw 4bald eagles 3in a corn field and1up in a tree along side….135s brown co..thought it unusual,all4 together.

  17. Raquel

    December 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Saw one bald eagle near large in Morgan County indiana. We’ve caugh pictures of 6 different one in on e day and one was still young enough not to had its prominent white head.

  18. Brad Anderson

    January 6, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    saw one in a field in southern Jennings Co Jan 5 2019

  19. AJ

    January 26, 2019 at 10:20 am

    One flew over our house and yard this morning! Leonard Springs Rd near Fullerton exit.

    It was gorgeous – white head and tail.

  20. Kent Likes

    January 26, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Saw one flying over Hamilton lake in Steuben county yesterday

  21. CAG

    February 16, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    I saw two bald eagles in a tree just off S.R. 18, 3 miles east of Marion, IN–Grant County. 2/16/2019

  22. Ed Smith

    February 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    We saw two eagles today in Yorkville Indiana, Dearborn County.

  23. Tim Deters

    March 7, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Saw a bald eagle earlier this morning sitting in a tree on Route 1 in Dearborn county about 2 miles south of Dover.

  24. Danielle

    March 14, 2019 at 9:28 am

    There is one east of Cambridge City. Seen it several times flying over I70.

  25. Charlie Whalbring

    April 24, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    April 24 2019 we saw a bald Eagle on 421 at the Decatur/Ripley county line. Beautiful site to se. I’ve sent a couple others over on 229 just east of Napoleon. Great thing to see.

  26. Jeff

    August 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    I have seen a bald eagle several times on my way to Indianapolis along I-69 near Pine Lake Fishing and Camping Ground (Pendleton exit).

  27. Chamron brown

    September 24, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    I saw two bald eagles today in Noblesville by Potters Bridge! Amazing!!!

  28. Jack Lemler

    October 24, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Spotted bald eagle in picked bean field having lunch at s400e/s800e,near Columbia City. Very distinctive head and size. Sorry no picture..

  29. Brenda Henderson

    November 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I saw an eagle near Yeddo,Indiana last week, and I saw another near Kingman, Indiana this week. So beautiful!

  30. Dave Springmann

    November 24, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Saw one over Flint lake in Valparaiso today.

  31. Rob Compton

    December 4, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Saw a baldy in the morn of Dec in harvested cornfield just west of I-65 at roundabout before Whiteland HS.

  32. Jane Thompson

    December 14, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    12-14-2019 5:00pm… I was returning home,from a trip to the market. And in the distance following North Promise Road, flying south was a huge bird.. It had a different wing beat than other large birds I am familiar with so I kept my eyes on it… And when it came close, and flew right over my truck,.. I could see it was a beautiful Bald Eagle… I have seen them twice before in and around the Noblesville area.. But not recently. This one flew right over the St.Rd 32 & Promise Road roundabout… And was close enough to the ground, it looked like you could reach out and touch it… Maybe 20-25 ft.up..

  33. John

    December 22, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Just saw two flying over Lake Manitou. The geese in the open part of the water were making one helluva racket and out comes the eagles who were flying just above the water.

  34. Sandra

    January 17, 2020 at 10:53 am

    There is a nest on the Northside of Indianapolis around shadeland and Fall Creek Fall Creek parkway North drive

    • lorna Tyler

      February 9, 2020 at 9:56 am

      seen 2 eagles today, a juvenile and adult. They were flying above our lake in the Lakewood subdivision in Lowell, In.

  35. Larry Anderson

    March 1, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    We see eagles very often in Dolan In. especially when out on tractor doing field work.

  36. Angela & Jeff

    April 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    We saw an Eagle catch a fish out of the neighborhood pond behind our house off of Seiler Rd in New Haven Indiana. What an unexpected and awesome sight.

  37. Katina Markovich

    June 4, 2020 at 8:02 am

    I live in a subdivision that is divided between Whiteland and Greenwood, Indiana and I saw two bald eagles near the pond by the school I took pictures then saw them fly into my neighborhood at the top of a tall tree in a wooded area by our park. They are neat and thought it was rare to see.

  38. Lisa Geesy

    October 28, 2020 at 2:54 am

    We have a large nest near our home in Randolph County, IN. There are a beautiful pair of Bald Eagles that have been returning to the nest annually for the past 7-8 years. They had two babies this year.

  39. Pam McLin

    November 27, 2020 at 8:48 am

    We see a pair on the east side of Terre Haute, this morning one sat in the top of the tree eating breakfast with crows flying around him trying to shoo him away or take away his find.

  40. Steve

    January 29, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve seen them when canoeing on white river, just north of Spencer

    • Dana

      April 24, 2021 at 11:34 am

      I saw one flying near Route 41 and 77th Avenue in Schererville, which does have a lot of wooded areas and ponds mixed in with residential and businesses. It was so surprising and I hope to see it again!

  41. John Tracy

    April 23, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    I saw a bald eagle today swoop down at Westminster and Briarclift Road(just west of Fall Creek and 71st St.) and pick up a dead squirrel lying in the street. It was Amazing! He or she perched in a nearby tree for a long time clutching to it’s prize catch.

  42. John rudd

    May 1, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Just spotted on flying over our house. Along the eel river in Whitley country. On 5-1-2021.

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