An unusual sight: Seven bald eagles perch on a tree near the DTE Energy power plant in Monroe, Michigan. Nearly 200 of the majestic birds have taken up residence there for the winter. (Dave Mitchell/Associated Press)

A huge flock of bald eagles has settled into what might be considered a strange winter residence: a power plant.

Nearly 200 of the eagles have made DTE Energy’s massive plant in Monroe, Michigan, their cozy cold-weather abode.

The birds can be seen perching on tree branches and using their six-to-seven-foot wingspans to glide over nearby Lake Erie and swoop into the plant’s spillway to snatch fish called gizzard shad, their food of choice.

The raptors are drawn to the plant’s warm-water discharge, which gives them easy access to fish, as well as to a vast wooded area where the people-shy birds can roost. DTE Energy has set aside the land for wildlife habitat preservation and is happy to host the eagles.

“It’s a fantastic sight,” said Skiles Boyd of DTE. “You never get to see that kind of thing anywhere else in those kinds of numbers.”

Although spotting a bald eagle is still a bit of a rarity, the bird was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.

— Associated Press