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 3,100 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 U.S. 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
December 28; January 5, 28, 29, 31; February 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 25; March 4, 8.
- Reservations Required (starting November 15)
- Informative Programs begin at the park visitor center at 8:30 a.m.
- Video Presentation
- Observational Driving Tour of Eagle Watching Locations near the Park
- For additional information call 618-786-3323
Eagle Watch on the River - Four Rivers Environmental Education Center
January 4 & 5 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)
- Free family event for all ages
- Walk the paved paths along the Des Plaines River while watching for American bald eagles and other birds wintering around the preserve. Stop in Four Rivers Environmental Education Center for a complimentary hot beverage to warm up.
- Ongoing activities will include bird talks, indoor bird watching, daily showings of the PBS film "American Eagle" at
11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and more.
- Dress for the weather and use caution while walking outdoors as snow and ice may be present on paths and parking areas.
- For more information call the Forest Preserve District of Will County at 815-722-9470
- For more information
Clinton, Iowa 33nd Annual Bald Eagle Watch
January 5 (8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.)
- Outdoor viewing: Lock & Dam 13, 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
- Live Bird and Nature Programs: Clinton Community College, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Exhibits: Clinton Community College from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- 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.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mississippi-River-Project/Education/Eagle-Watching/
- Naturalists will be on hand to answer any questions. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras.
Alton–Audubon Eagle Ice Festival at Center at the Riverlands & Downtown Alton, IL
January 5 (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
- Eagle Meet & Greet 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Eagle Viewing Walks
- Kids Activities
- Ice Sculpting
- Wildlife Art/Photography
- Free Admission and shuttle tours available for more information call 800-258-6645
- Additional information on eagle watching activities throughout the Alton area can be found at http://www.visitalton.com/seasons/eagle
Quad Cities Bald Eagle Days - Rock Island, IL
January 11, 12 & 13
Quad City Conservation Alliance Expo Center - 2621 Fourth Ave, Rock Island IL
Admission and more information; 309-788-2543 www.qccaexpocenter.com
Mississippi River Visitor Center - Rock Island IL - Eagle Watch / Clock Tower Tours
January 19, 20, 26, 27; February 2, 3, 9, 10
Eagle Days - The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge - Granite City - Illinois/Missouri
January 19 & 20 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)
- Live Eagle Educational Programs, every 20 minutes from 10:00 a.m. - 2:40 p.m.
- Viewing Scopes for Eagle Watching available 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Hosted by the IDNR, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and The Confluence
- Living History Demonstrations
- Warming Tent Activities
- Parking available from both Illinois & Missouri Locations; call 618-462-6979
- For more information visit http://greatriversgreenway.org/eagledays
- All activities are free.
Dubuque Iowa Bald Eagle Watch
Keokuk Iowa Bald Eagle Days - Lock and Dam 19
January 19 & 20
- Indoor programs and Environmental Fair at the River City Mall, Keokuk, Iowa 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Live Eagle Programs Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
- Outdoor viewing along the River Front 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
- For more information call the Keokuk Chamber of Commerce: 1-800-383-1219
- For more information visit https://www.traveliowa.com/calendar/35th-annual-bald-eagle-appreciation-days/1618605/
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Watch, Marion, IL
January TBA (Shutdown)
7th Annual Great River Eagles Days – Lock and Dam 21, Quincy, IL
- Outdoor viewing at Lock and Dam 21 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Indoor exhibits & events 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., at the Oakley Lindsay Civic Center, admission into the event is $5 for ages twelve and older and $3 for adults over sixty. For more information call: 217-577-1930.
- The Omeyocan Dancers, a spectacular Aztec dance
company hailing from Milwaukee, WI, performing both days at 2:00 p.m.
- Bald eagles will be present all weekend for close-up viewing from the Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
- The traditional blessing
of the eagle ceremony is to be held Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
American vendors and food booths will be on site both days, offering authentic
"Fry Bread" and Indian tacos.
- For more information on the Lock & Dam events call the Muscatine Ranger office: 563-263-7913
- For more information www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/MississippiRiverProject/Education/EagleWatching.aspx
Muscatine Iowa Bald Eagle Watch
Bald Eagle Watch - Starved Rock State Park Lodge & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center - Utica, IL
January 26-27 (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
- 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 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., & 3:00 p.m.
- Update: Osprey Recovery Project presentation; Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- Youth Owl Calling Contest; Saturday 4:30 p.m.
- 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 www.illinoisaudubon.org/PROGRAMSEVENTS/BaldEagleWatchWeekend.html
Bald Eagle Festival - Pere Marquette Lodge, Grafton
January 27 (11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)
- Festival will feature live music and entertainment by the World Bird Sanctuary as they showcase the Bald Eagle and several other raptor species in their Masters of the Sky Show at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m, & 3:00 p.m.
- $5 Tickets for the shows can be purchased on the web site in advance or at the Front Desk at 10:00 a.m. the morning of the Festival.
- Unique vendor booths, grab a bite to eat in our restaurant, taste locally made wines.
- The Bald Eagle Festival takes place indoors. Entry into the Festival is free, for more information visit
Fulton-Mason Eagle Day (Havana & Lewistown)
February 2 (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
- Numerous event locations: Dickson Mounds Museum, The Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve, Havana Nature Center, US Fish & Wildlife Service Sites, Havana City Center, and Havana Park District Nature Center.
- Spotting scopes
- Warming stations with hot cocoa
- Visit with experts
- Live Raptor Exhibit
- Kids activities, the events are free.
- For more information http://experienceemiquon.com/content/fulton-mason-eagle-day-0
Carlyle Lake Eagle Watch
February 9 (9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
Kaskaskia Eagle Fest, Jerry F. Costello Lock & Dam - Modoc, IL
February 2 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)
- Eagle watching with spotting scopes.
- Live music provided by Acoustic Feedback 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Programs by the World Bird Sanctuary. Come see which feathered friends they bring at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
- Families & leash-trained dogs welcome
- Wildlife Senses presented by NHECM. Check out their new eagle owl, red fox kit, raccoon, black and white tegu, African pixie bullfrog, and other special guests at 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
- Food available from local vendors.
- For more information, contact the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers Kaskaskia River Project Office at 618-284-7160
- For more info https://www.facebook.com/events/1915955718453449/
Lake Shelbyville Eagle Day
February 2 (9:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.)
- Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center (off of Route 16 East of Main Dam) 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
- This event is offered free of charge, however space and seating is limited.
- Please contact the Lake Shelbyville, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reserve free tickets for the bald eagle program for kids and the birds of prey show. Tickets can be reserved either by phone, email, or in person at the Lake Shelbyville Project Office.
- Eagle program for kids 10:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m.
- Talk & Gawk in lobby 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
- Birds of Prey 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
- The Project Office is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For additional information or to reserve tickets, call (217)774-3951 X 2 or email email@example.com.
- Free Admission
Family Eagle Watching Day/Open House at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge
February TBA (Shutdown)
- Free Admission & open to the public
- Live eagle presentation by TreeHouse Rehabilitation Wildlife Center at 2:30
- Junior Ranger nature hikes with refuge staff.
- For more information about the refuge open house, call 618-883-2524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information, www.fws.gov/refuge/two_rivers
Masters of the Sky Eagle Events, National Great Rivers Museum - Alton, IL
February 16 & 17
- Eagles, Hawks, Owls and More! 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
- 1 Hour Programs presented by Treehouse Rehabilitation Wildlife Center, Featuring Live Birds of Prey
11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.
- Tickets are $3.00 for kids 12 & under, $5 for adults (children under age 3 may attend for free)
- For more information, https://www.mtrf.org or 618-462-6979
Mississippi River Eagle Watching
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.