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      Eagle Numbers Down at Local Viewing Site

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      A local bald eagle viewing site is still attracting visitors despite low numbers of eagles to see.
      Volunteer Eldon Beck said he's only seen five this year at Lexington's J-2 Hydro Plant -- the lowest number of birds he's seen in at least a decade.
      "I think they've just got other places to go," he said. "I don't think the eagles have decreased or anything like that. There's just too much open water, too much food. They stop off in a field, help themselves to grain and all that."
      Beck said the colder it is, the more birds flock to the plant. But, whatever the weather, he still encourages visitors to stop in for viewing.
      "You never know. It's just like that bird. It wasn't here a little bit ago and there's one sitting right there real clear, so it's just one of those things that it happens," he said.
      Visitor Betty Johnson caught one of the birds through her binoculars Sunday. She encourages others to do the same.
      "The American eagle is America's bird, and they should see them when they have a chance and honor them," said Johnson. "I just love all kinds of birds anyway."
      Beck said the low turnout of birds hasn't meant a low turnout in visitors.
      "I came out here on the 28th [of] December, the first day we opened. The first couple waiting for me was from London, England," he said. "I see someone signed in yesterday was from Brazil."
      The J-2 Hydro Plant is open weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. until the end of February or beginning of March. It is located south of Lexington.

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