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Rural Missouri Magazine

Eagle Days

by Jason Jenkins

Each winter, when lakes and rivers in the upper Midwest and Canada freeze over, Missourians young and old are treated to an aerial spectacle like few others.

Following the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, more than 2,800 bald eagles annually migrate to the Show-Me State between late December and early February. Only Alaska and Washington have more bald eagles than Missouri.

The birds, which were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007, stay until mid-March. They join with resident eagles, like the one featured on the cover, around Missouri’s large reservoirs and rivers. Sometimes, they gather by the hundreds, preying on fish and waterfowl.

You have the chance to catch a glimpse of our national symbol soaring at a series of free Eagle Days events across the state. In addition to eagle watching, many events also include live eagle programs, exhibits and other activities. Be sure to bring winter outdoor clothing to stay warm, and don’t forget your camera and binoculars.

2008 Eagle Days events are scheduled for:
• Jan. 5-6, Osage National Golf Resort Clubhouse and Willmore Lodge, Lake Ozark
• Jan. 5-6, Little Platte Park Course Complex, Smithville
• Jan. 19-20, Conservation Nature Center, Springfield
• Jan. 19-20, Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis
• Jan. 26-27, Lock & Dam 24, Apple Shed Theater and Ted Shanks Conservation Area, Clarksville
• Feb. 2, Schell-Osage Conservation Area, El Dorado Springs
• Feb. 15, Twin Pines Conservation Education Center, Winona
Some events require reservations. For times and more specifics about individual Eagle Days events, call the Missouri Department of Conservation at 573-751-4115, ext. 3289, or visit www.mdc.mo.gov/events/eagledays.

 

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