MOUND CITY Mo -- The 33rd annual Eagle Days at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge Dec. 3-4 will feature the nation’s symbol plus thousands of waterfowl.
"About 200,000 snow geese migrated into the refuge in recent days," said Refuge Manager Ron Bell on Nov 22. "The marshes are holding about 100,000 ducks. Flocks of late-migrating pelicans are on the area."
Bell adeed that a few dozen bald eagles, most immature, were using the area early in the week. Bell expects more eagles to arrive along with migrating waterfowl.
“It’s been a really late migration this fall,” he said. “I was concerned that we wouldn’t have any snow geese for Eagle Days. But over the past weekend they showed up.”
Squaw Creek received enough Missouri River floodwater this summer to boost wetland plants that provide food for waterfowl. But that water came from upstream. A dry summer in the region enabled work on some wetland pools to make them more favorable for waterfowl so the area should attract birds as winter weather arrives.
Eagle Days is hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) with help from various public and private conservation partners in northwest Missouri.
Eagle days will include shows featuring captive eagles presented by staff from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield. Programs will begin on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.
All Eagle Days viewing activities and programs are free. The visitor center and displays will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Guided tour buses will be available.
Visitors can also take a driving tour through the refuge. Geese, ducks, shorebirds and eagles are often spotted in or near the marshes on the tour. MDC and refuge staff will be stationed at prime spots for wildlife viewing and spotting scopes will be available.
Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge is near Mound City about 30 miles north of St. Joseph. The headquarters and refuge are three miles west of I-29 on Missouri 159.
Parking space is limited at headquarters. So on Saturday, Dec. 3, Eagle Days attendees are urged to take advantage of free parking at the former Squaw Creek Eagle Nest Plaza just off I-29 at Exit 79, which is the interchange with Missouri 159. Shuttle buses will run continuously to ferry visitors to the Eagle Days activities and back to the parking lot.
Shuttle buses will not be available at the parking lot on Sunday, Dec. 4.
For more information, contact Squaw Creek at 660-442-3187, or MDC at 816-271-3100.