10 States Celebrate King Weekend With Bald Eagle Watches

This weekend 10 states have eagle-watching festivities over King Weekend. And that doesn’t count three more states (OR, NY, NJ) that have eagles right over a river on their border. The recent cold spell seems to be pushing eagles further south. Northern states are reporting slow seasons while those in Alabama and Kentucky are having strong years.

Where are the Eagle Viewing Spots Around the Country?See the Full Calendar of Eagle-Viewing Events for 2010

Dates State And where is that? Peak Number of Eagles Details Jan 8-Feb 7 AL Lake Guntersville SP The area gets more than 100, but tours see about 15-35 Eagle Awareness Weekends offer accessible viewing spots to see where eagles nest and hunt. Eagle experts (some with live birds) give talks inside the lodge, too. Mid Jan-Feb CA-OR Lower Klamath Basin on the CA-OR Border 500 The Lower Kalmath Basin National Wildlife Refuge gets up to 500 bald eagles each winter. According to the refuge, the birds arrive in November but the best viewing is in January and February along the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath auto tours.

Lower Klamath is the country’s first waterfowl refuge. Over a million birds visit for the winter, including white pelicans, Pintail, gadwall, and canvasback ducks. You may also see Sandhill Cranes and antelope.

You can make a reservation to use one of their photography blinds. Jan 16 – 17 IA Keokuk, IA’s Dam 19, near the intersection of IA, IL and MO

Try Main Street or 4th

Keep reading 10 States Celebrate King Weekend With Bald Eagle Watches


20 States Host Bald Eagle Festivals; Six This Weekend. Is There A Bald Eagle Near You?

See the full 2010 Eagle Calendar

In January and February rivers freeze and bald eagles have to come down from Canada to visit us. To capitalize on the event, Audubon clubs and parks around the country hold Bald Eagle Days or Festivals to give people a chance to see our national bird in places they haven’t been seen in generations. Within a couple hours of New York, Boston, Chicago and Dallas, you can see eagles.

Twenty states have bald eagle festivals, although two have cancelled this year because of the recession. The Upper Skagit Eagle Festival in WA and the CT Eagle Festival won’t be held this year. The eagles still show up, you just don’t get the luxury treatment, which usually entails scopes and hot chocolate. CT Audubon even still has $40 boat tours.

Current Eagle Festivals: AL, AK, AR, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, MD, NJ, NY, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT and WI

We’ve got six bald eagle events this weekend. We don’t just have a national bald eagle day because they show up at different times around the country. The peak for eagle days is the first weekend in February, with 11 states having eagle-watching events.

See the 2010 Calendar of Eagle EventsWhere to See Eagles Yearound

To see more animals go to animaltourism.com

Eagle Season Begins in Illinois

Starved Rock Eagle

Bald Eagle Hunting above Starved Rock.

When I grew up in Illinois, seeing a bald eagle would have been impossible or at least fantastic. On January 2, my family and I drove just two hours outside Chicago and got to see seven bald eagles fishing on the Illinois River by Starved Rock State Park. More regular guests, jaded by appearances of over 100 eagles, walked away disappointed. We couldn’t have been more delighted.

Now Illinois brags that it has the most bald eagles of any (continential) state. Alaska blows everybody away with 50% of the world’s population of 70,000, according to Bald Eagle Info.  Haliaeetus leucocephalus only lives in North America and Ireland. The bird was upgraded from endangered to threatened in 1995, then totally bumped off the endangered species list in 2007, thanks largely to cracking down on poachers and DDT. The IUCN, which rates how vulnerable animals are, now dismissively says the bald eagle is of “least concern.”

The Mississippi River is where most Illinois eagles hang out and where most eagle-watching hotspots are, but Starved Rock is by far the closest place to Chicagoland. The number of eagles that visit the area has been climbing steadily since people started counting 15 years ago and no one knows how high it might go. (The eagle population is thought to have once been 100,000.)

Kevin Eubank, the head ranger at the dam where you do most eagle viewing, says the numbers hit a peak last February with 115. They’re coming down from Wisconsin and Canada,

Keep reading Eagle Season Begins in Illinois