Specially Planned Programs Allow Visitors to Experience Bald Eagles and Witness the Majesty of Our National Bird
Every winter, Illinois presents visitors with the opportunity to see more than 5,000 bald eagles in their natural habitat - more wintering American bald eagles, in fact, than in any other state outside Alaska. The first eagles of the season are spotted in Illinois in December and remain in residence until they migrate back north in March, with January and February the optimal time for visitors to see eagles.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service considers the magnificent American bald eagle as protected.
To accommodate visitors who want to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the bald eagles' majesty and glory, towns and parks across much of the state will host specially planned eagle observation programs and exhibits throughout the prime-viewing season. For anyone interested in American history, bird-watching and the environment, bald eagle season in Illinois is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is pleased to highlight a number of eagle-watching locations and events planned for this winter:
Pere Marquette State Park Bald Eagle Days - Grafton, IL
Programs on December 19, 22; January 8, 9, 16, 26, 28, 30; February 3, 4, 6, 24, 26; March 2.
Quad Cities Bald Eagle Appreciation Days - Rock Island, IL
January 9, 10 & 11
Quad City Conservation Alliance Expo Center - 2621 Fourth Ave, Rock Island IL
Admission and more information at Quad City Conservation Alliance (309-788-5912) www.qccaexpocenter.com
Clinton, Iowa Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, January 10
- Outdoor viewing: Lock & Dam 13, 8:30-2:30
- Live Bird and Nature Programs: Clinton Community College, 9:00-2:00
- Exhibits: Clinton Community College from 9:00 - 2:30
- Free bus service from college to the outdoor viewing area.
- For more information call the Thomson Ranger office: 815-259-3628.
- Schedule of the day’s events can be found at http://www.cityoffulton.us
Alton Eagle Festival – Audubon Center at the Riverlands & Downtown Alton, IL
Saturday, January 3
- Eagle Meet & Greet
- Eagle Viewing Walks
- Kids Activities
- Ice Sculpting
- Wildlife Art/Photography
- Additional information on eagle watching activities throughout the Alton area can be found at http://www.visitalton.com
Mississippi River Visitor Center - Rock Island IL - Eagle Watch / Clock Tower Tours
January 3, 24 & 31. February 7
- Combination eagle watches and historical clock tower tours
- Saturday and Sunday times are: 9-10:30 and 12:30-2:00
- Reservations required. Group size is limited.
- For more information or to make reservations call the Visitor Center: 309-794-5338 or
Eagle Days - The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge - Granite City - Illinois/Missouri
- Live Eagle Educational Programs, every 20 minutes from 10:00 AM until 2:40 PM.
- Viewing Scopes for Eagle Watching
- Hosted by the IDNR, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and The Confluence
- Living History Demonstrations
- Warming Tent Activities
- Parking available from both Illinois & Missouri Locations
- For additional information visit http://www.confulencegreenway.org/eagledays
Dubuque Iowa Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, January 17
- Outdoor viewing at Lock and Dam 11 from 9:00–4:00
- Live Eagle & Bird of Prey Programs by the University of Minnesota Raptor Center at 9:30, 12:15 & 3:00
- Pella Wildlife Company - Live Cougar Presentations at 11:00 & 1:45
- Indoor Exhibits from 9:00 - 4:30 at the Grand River Center - Port of Dubuque
- Trolley rides from Grand River Center to the National Mississippi River Museum and the outdoor viewing area.
- For more information call the Dubuque Ranger office: 563-582-0881
Keokuk Iowa Bald Eagle Days
Saturday and Sunday, January 17-18
- Indoor programs and Environmental Fair at the River City Mall, Keokuk, Iowa
- Live Eagle Programs Saturday 9:00-3:00 and Sunday 10:00-3:00
- Outdoor viewing along the River Front
- For more information call the Keokuk Chamber of Commerce: 1-800-383-1219
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Watch, Marion IL
- Bald Eagle and Waterfowl Viewing
- Guided Tours of the Refuge
- Sat. 8 AM, 11 AM and 2 PM; Sun. 11 AM and 2 PM
- Reservations Required, 618-997-3344
Muscatine Iowa Bald Eagle Watch
Saturday, January 24
- Outdoor viewing from 9:00 to 3:00 at Pearl City Station in Riverside Park
- Live Eagle programs at 9:30 & 11:00 at the Pearl City Station in Riverside Park
- Environmental exhibits inside the Pearl City Station
- For more information call the Muscatine Ranger office: 563-263-7913
Quincy Bald Eagle Watch – Lock and Dam 21, Quincy
January 17-18 (9AM - 5PM)
- Outdoor viewing of bald eagles on and along the Mississippi River
- For more information call the Quincy Ranger office: 217-228-0890
Bald Eagle Watch - Starved Rock State Park Lodge & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center - Utica, IL
January 24-25 (9AM-4PM)
- Activities at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center, Starved Rock Lodge and Illinois Waterway Visitor Center (Lock and Dam) with interpretive programs, spotting scopes, and family and children’s activities. Hosted by the Illinois Audubon Society, IDNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Audubon and Starved Rock Foundation.
- Children’s Activities
- Live Illinois Birds of Prey Noon, 2:00 & 4:00
- Raptor Awareness Program 10:00, Noon, 2:00 & 4:00
- Free Admission
- Park & ride the trolley between Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Visitor Center and the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center - $1.00
- For Event Information, call Illinois Audubon Society 217-544-2473
- For more information http://illinoisaudubon.org/PROGRAMSEVENTS/BaldEagleWatchWeekend.html
Kaskaskia Eagle Fest, Kaskaskia Lock & Dam - Modoc, IL
February 1 (9AM-3PM)
- Eagle watching with spotting scopes.
- Meet feathered inhabitants of the World Bird Sanctuary 9AM-1PM
- Hike on Confluence Trail.
- Event is free, lunch is available for a suggested donation of $5/person.
- Families & leash-trained dogs welcome
- For more information, contact the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers Kaskaskia River Project Office at 618-284-7160
15th Annual Eagle Day Festival - Havana & Lewistown
February 7 (9AM-3PM)
- Numerous events: Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown Visitor's Center, The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve, Havana Nature Center and Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge.
- Free Live Raptor Show (tickets are free but must be secured prior to show due to limited seating, Dickson Mounds Museum @ 309-547-3721)
- Spotting scopes
- Warming stations with hot cocoa
- Visit with experts
- Kids activities
- For more information www.museum.state.il.us/ismsites/dickson/
All About Eagles - Carlyle Lake
February 8 (12:30PM)
- Carlyle High School Gymnasium
- The World Bird Sanctuary will present a Bald Eagle demonstration.
- Eagle viewing from Carlyle Lake Main Dam, bring binoculars & dress accordingly for the weather.
- For more information; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Carlyle Lake Project Office (618) 594-2484
Masters of the Sky Eagle Events, National Great Rivers Museum - Alton, IL
February 15, 16 & 17
- Eagles, Hawks, Owls and More!
- 1 Hour Programs Featuring Live Birds of Prey – 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00
- Tickets are $3.00 for kids 12 & under, $5 for adults
- For More Information, www.mtrf.org or 618-462-6979
Mississippi River Eagle Watching
Friends of the Hennepin Canal ‘Hike the Canal,’
Family hike centers on eagle watching along the Hennepin Canal between Lock 30 and Lock 32 (4.6 mile hike). For more information http://www.friends-hennepin-canal.org. Hikers will meet at the Steel Dam in Milan by 1:30 pm and will be shuttled to the Mississippi to begin the walk back. The event is free, dress weather appropriately.
In addition to special events, bald eagles have been found wintering throughout Illinois at locations including the Illinois and Michigan Canal and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in northeast Illinois; at locations all along the Illinois River; along open waters on the Du Page River and Fox River in northeast Illinois, including Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry; at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Ingleside; along the Des Plaines River near Channahon State Park, Channahon; near the I-88 bridge in North Aurora on the Fox River; on the Fox River at the Pleasant Valley Forest Preserve in Woodstock; and, along the Rock River at locations including Lowden State Park, Oregon, Illinois.