(KPLR) -- It`s winter, and that means bald eagles flock to Missouri waters to escape colder weather up north. Missouri is a favorite winter vacation destination. Dan Zarlenga from the Missouri Department of Conservation has tips on viewing these magnificent birds.
Q. Why do eagles come to Missouri each winter?
- Primary food is fish
- As waters freeze up north, the migrate here where the waters are easier to fish
- The Big rivers and other large bodies of water provide the perfect food source
Q. Where are some great places to watch eagles?
- Eagles like to congregate near large bodies of water. Look for them near lakes and rivers
- Old Chain of Rocks Bridge just north of St. Louis
- 'Chain of rocks' structure just south of the bridge breaks up the water, creating rapids that bring up fish for eagles to catch
- The Eagle Days Festival is taking a year off in 2013, but still plenty of chances to see them on your own
- Audubon Visitors Center at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton
- Confluence overlook at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
- Jones Confluence State Park
- City of Alton also has many events
Q. And if viewers don`t mind a little drive, Clarksville also has a large eagle watching event. Tell us about that.
- Clarkesville Eagle Days, Saturday and Sunday, January 26-27 from 10-3
- Lock and Dam No. 24 and Riverfront Park
- See eagles in the wild through spotting scopes
- Watch a live eagle up close during Live Eagle Programs, from the World Bird Sanctuary
- Kids` activities and more
- Only an hour and a half drive from St. Louis
Q. Any special suggestions about preparing for the weather?
- Dress warmer than you think you`ll need
- Use multiple layers
- Head and hand cover are a must
- Bring a camera or binoculars or spotting scope
Q. How can we find out more?