Markee Travis, a librarian at the Cedaredge Public Library, captured this image while driving to work last winter of a bald eagle in an old cottonwood alongside Redlands Mesa Road. These majestic birds of prey are a common sight along the Gunnison and North Fork of the Gunnison rivers during the winter months. According to the Colordo Parks and Wildlife, bald eagles can be found throughout much of the state in both summer and winter, usually near large reservoirs and along major rivers. The bird does not gain its distinctive white head and tail until four or five years old. Their diet consists of fish, waterfowl, muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs and they will often eat carrion and road-killed animals. Bald eagles were listed on the Endangered Species List until 1995, when they were downlisted to threatened. By 2007 they were delisted from Endangered Species Act protection. The bird was removed from the Colorado lists of threatened and endangered species in 2009. The first bald eagle nests were discovered in Colorado in the mid-1970s, and currently nearly 120 nests are known in the state. Year-round populations have been consistently growing since the mid-’70s. The state also supports significant numbers of wintering bald eagles which migrate south from Canada and Alaska.