This one probably won't make any of those Top Montana Tourist Destination websites, but I guess you never know.

It sure lacks the majestic image we see so often, or picture in our minds when it comes to America's national bird. From a lookout branch, the beautiful bald eagle takes flight. It soars and circles, almost in slow-motion, as it zeroes in on its prey. With breath-taking precision it swoops, talons forward, laser-focused on its target. And with awe-inspiring speed makes contact with...

A landfill site?

While they may not have the reputation for it, eagles are scavengers, too. And, as reported by Jolee Sallee with Montana's KPAX TV this week, word (or screeching) has gotten round that Gallatin County's Logan Landfill is a heck of a honey hole for an easy meal for eagles and other raptors. Seasonal migration patterns make this time of year (early December through March) prime landfill time.

KPAX visited with employees of the landfill, who say it's not uncommon to see 50 or more bald eagles on a daily basis, and the numbers have increased each year. In the last five to six years, they've begun to congregate at or near the highest point of the landfill and look things over. Why use all that energy capturing and killing when an easy meal could be found on the ground?

There can be risky side-effects with eating habits like these. One big concern is if the birds were to dine on a euthanized animal carcass. But Logan Landfill officials have been very proactive there, pointing out that precautions are taken to keep wildlife safe. That includes direct bury and cover of roadkill as soon as it comes in. A spokesperson interviewed for the story from the Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman, said that while they treat many raptors who have fed off carcasses, none were from the Logan Landfill.

Logan Landfill says the bald eagles are mainly dining on "food scraps and food waste."

And there you have a fascinating Montana thing that probably won't make any brochures!

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