Smithville, Missouri – Visitors will be invited to view wildlife indoors and outdoors on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 4 and 5, at the 19th annual Eagle Days at Smithville Lake.
Educational talks with captive eagles will be given at the Paradise Pointe Golf Course Complex in Little Platte Park by experts from Operation Wildlife. Show times on Saturday will be 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. The shows on Sunday will begin at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Paradise Pointe is part of the Little Platte Park at 18212 Golf Course Road.
Informational booths and wildlife displays will also be offered in the indoor meeting room by Missouri Master Naturalists, Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary of Liberty, Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, Wings of Love and other public and private conservation groups. Eagle Days at the lake is a partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Clay County Parks and Recreation Department.
Outdoor viewing stations will be set up for visitors to see wild eagles and waterfowl. Numbers are weather dependent. But most years eagles can be spotted near concentrations of waterfowl. The stations will be placed according to best viewing positions that weekend. Each winter, eagles migrate through Missouri and stay primarily near rivers and lakes with open water, where they can find fish or waterfowl for food.
A single snowy owl, an unusual migrant visitor from the north, was spotted at Smithville Lake in early December. But it was last seen on Dec. 3, said Brad Jacobs, an MDC ornithologist. No snowy owl sightings have been reported in recent weeks, though birders have been out looking, said Lora Vacca, Smithville Lake operations manager for the Corps of Engineers.