The Habitats of Bald Eagle State Park
Bald Eagle State Park’s geographic location and diversity of habitats attract a large variety of birds. The Allegheny Front to the west of the park is a major flyway for migrating birds (along with butterflies and dragonflies). Birds using the flyway stop at Bald Eagle to rest and feed before continuing their migration.
The park is in the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province of Pennsylvania, which is characterized by wide valleys surrounded by mountains. This feature is mirrored at the park which slopes from Bald Eagle Mountain down to the valley bottom.
This varied geology leads to many different habitats in the park, which creates more places for birds and animals to find homes and places to eat.
The Habitats of Bald Eagle State Park Illustration is available as a pdf.
Habitats of Bald Eagle State Park (.pdf) (1,408 kb, 6/10)
The area by the park office is composed of fields slowly reverting to forest. Unmowed grassy areas slowly bristle with shrubs, becoming great habitat for birds that hide and forage hidden in the thick vegetation. In winter, the northern shrike, (1) which breeds in northern Canada, winters in the park because of similar habitat. The grassy fields and shrubby areas are just like home and provide habitat for mice, moles and voles (2) the winter food of the shrike, which sometimes stores spare food on the thorns of the hawthorn trees. (3) The northern mockingbird (4) is a gray bird often confused with the shrike. Dead and dried joe pye weed, (5) teasel, (6) goldenrod (7) and Queen Anne’s lace, (8) also called wild carrot, are perching spots and seed repositories for year-round birds like song sparrows. (9)
This shrubby area has many tasty plants for cottontail rabbits, (10) which use the thick underbrush to hide from bobcats. (11)
The trails in this area have a maze-like quality as they pass through tall shrubs and grasses. Walking quietly can create close encounters with birds that think they are hidden, but also can be frustrating because a bird can be heard but not seen.