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What to know as peak eagle-watching season nears in Missouri

ST. LOUIS — We’re less than a month from the official start of winter. With brisk temperatures and snow chances in Missouri also comes a tradition for outdoor enthusiasts: Peak eagle-watching season.

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced a new slate of ‘Eagle Days’ events earlier this week. In the later stages of fall, thousands of eagles migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in Missouri.

More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter, many traveling around the state’s big rivers, many lakes, and abundant wetlands.

This year’s ‘Eagle Days’ events include:

  • Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City
    Dec. 3, 2022, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Dec. 4, 2022, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Smithville Lake at Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse in Smithville
    Jan. 7, 2023, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    Jan. 8, 2023, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  
  • Springfield Conservation Nature Center in Springfield
    Jan. 21, 2023, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Jan. 22, 2023, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City
    Jan. 28, 2023, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Live eagle programs are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.
    Registration is not required.
  • MINGO (Puxico School’s FEMA building, viewing stations at Mingo and Duck Creek)
    Feb. 4, 2023, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Audubon Center at Riverlands St. Louis
    Feb. 11, 2023, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Preregistration is required for live-eagle program

MDC offers the following recommendations to spot eagles this winter:

  • Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge.
  • Early in the morning, you will likely see them flying and fishing most often.
  • Dress for winter weather.
  • Don’t forget cameras and binoculars.

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