Conservation Connection: Bald Eagle Watching

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(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?