PUXICO, Mo. – Bald eagle viewing is at its peak in southeast Missouri. To celebrate the arrival of these majestic birds, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA) will host the popular “Eagle Days” event for the public on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both areas are located on highway 51, just north of Puxico. All activities will begin at Mingo's Maintenance Shop.
“This Eagle Days event is a great way of celebrating the successful recovery of our National Symbol and we hope that many people can come out to enjoy the day,” said Peter Rea of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Rea said the bald eagle is one of our country’s greatest conservation success stories because as recently as the early 1960s, they were an extremely uncommon site within Missouri and the rest of the lower 48 states.
“Today, visitors to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and state conservation areas such as Duck Creek can see bald eagles on a regular occurrence,” Rea said.
MDC Education Consultant Pat Holloway said area schools have signed up to bring 1,160 students to the areas on Friday to view the symbolic bird in its natural habitat.
“We allow schools to bring classes a day early, so school children have the opportunity and also to lessen the crowd on Saturday,” Holloway said.
The Eagle Days event is packed with learning opportunities such as exhibits at Mingo’s Visitor Center, live eagle presentations and chances to view bald eagles in the wild on Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Duck Creek CA. The event is held every other year and jointly coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MDC.
Due to the cold weather and frozen conditions in more northern areas, bald eagles return to Southeast Missouri in January and February to fish and hunt. The bald eagle is considered native to Missouri and thanks to restoration efforts, is now observed nearly statewide. Missouri now has more than 120 active eagle’s nests and the birds were removed from the federal government’s endangered species list with over 7,000 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states.
For more information on bald eagles in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov. For more information about the Eagle Days event, contact Mingo National Wildlife Refuge at (573) 222-3589.