Heart of Louisiana: Bayou Eagles

Updated: Mar. 10, 2020 at 10:29 PM CDT
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GIBSON, La. (WVUE) - This is the time of year when bald eagles are hatching their young in hundreds of nests across Louisiana.

One of the hottest eagle viewing spots is in Western Terrebonne Parish near the town of Gibson.

The swamp tour of Western Terrebonne Parish has all of the usual attractions. But, during Winter and early Spring the star attraction is the bald eagle.

“There’s one of my eagle’s nests straight ahead on top of the cypress. I don’t think mama’s in there,” says Captain Billy Gaston.

Gaston took over the long time bayou swamp tour operation when work slowed down in the oil business.

“So, I had to kind of find something else to do and try to make a living. And I said, well, why not do something I love to do for a change. Right,” says Gaston. “I love it man. I’ll tell you. When I get to meet great people from all over the world everyday.”

It’s easy to spot the giant eagle nests tucked high in the cypress trees where the birds will lay their eggs and then the small brown feathered heads of the eaglets start appearing above the hatched rim of those nests. The eagle parents may be perched nearby keeping an eye on their young.

When you were growing up here back in the 70s your couldn’t see this out here.

“Back in 1972, from what I was told, they only had three active nests in the whole state. And now, we have about 650 nests, 600 is active and over 300 is right here in this area,” says Gaston.

Over the course of a few hours, we see at least two dozen bald eagles perched high on a tree limb or soaring above the swamp and marsh looking for their next meal.

“Another one flying over the boat on the left,” says Gaston.

Cameras go off with each new sighting. And even without the majestic birds of prey, there are lots of other feathered animals to catch the attention of photographers.

“What I like about this area is that it’s not just swamped and it’s a little mixture marshlands swamp and I find there’s more birds in this area. A lot more eagles,” says Gaston. “I was born and raised out here in the bayou. I never took it for granted.”

And along the bayou, passengers get treated to an original song by Captain Billy, a real Cajun Man who loves to share the natural beauty of this swamp.

“I’m the Cajun Man. It’s what I am. Living of the land. Doing the best I can.”

Captain Billy Gaston of Cajun Man’s Swamp Tour says the eagles will likely be in South Louisiana until early May.

To book a tour visit www.cajunmanadventures.com.

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