Watching bald eagles

By | Category: Travel destinations
This is one of two types of bald eagle - the Southern variety

This is one of two types of bald eagle – the Southern variety

Now is the time to spread your wings, so to speak, and head for the US to see bald eagles as they congregate over winter.

As the Mississippi river begins to freeze, eagles gather to take advantage of the ice-free areas where they know it will still be possible to fish. As many as 500 have been seen at any one time in Illinois and, last year, it was estimated that as many as 3,000 bald eagles wintered in the state. Most congregate in the Middle Mississippi Valley  at places like Melvin Price Locks and Dam and the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge where 2,000 plus were seen last season. For those living in the western Europe, the best place to see them could be in the Starved Rock State Park which is only 93 miles from Chicago and takes about an hour-and-a-half to drive. In January and February some 20,000 people will head there to catch sight of the eagles and many more if a large number of eagles are spotted.

Illinois isn’t the only state in which you have a better than average chance of seeing bald eagles. Further down the river in Kansas, when winter freezes the northern lakes and rivers, bald eagles frequent eastern Kansas’ reservoirs and wide rivers. Some Kansas locations that you should consider include Clinton and Hillside lakes where the visitor centres will be able to let you know in advance what are the chances of you seeing bald eagles. A virtually guaranteed sighting should be at Bowersock Dam because this is one place that tends not to freeze and the eagles have learnt that fact. Being a dam, the birds can watch the fish as they swim over the dam and, hey presto, lunch is easier to find! Not far from Wichita is Cheney State Park and here, bald eagles over winter. Last year on one particular day, over 300 were counted so the park is another place where you should almost be guaranteed a siting.

Away from the mid-west, another possible area you should consider, and one that doesn’t n mean you have to stay outdoors, is in Connecticut in New England. You aren’t guaranteed to see bald eagles if you take the Eagle Flyer Vintage Train Rides but you would be considered very unlucky if you didn’t. The train runs until the 16th of February on a two-and-a-half journey in of wildlife and bald eagles. The advantage of this way of seeing bald eagles? You stay in the warmth! On-board there is a wildlife conservationist who will explain the journey and spot the eagles probably before you will.


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