SPANISH LAKE, Mo.—The annual Eagle Days at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge Festival has been cancelled this year due to public health concerns because of Covid-19. The yearly event is hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) each January weekend coinciding with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. All three partners hope to resume the festival for 2022.
MDC is offering an alternative chance to see bald eagles in the wild this weekend with the Eagle Explorations on your Own event this Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake. This is a free, in-person event open to all ages.
Winter is an excellent time in Missouri to see migrating bald eagles gathered along open waters. Columbia Bottom sits at the Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the two largest in North America. MDC staff will be at the entrance of the conservation area on Saturday to greet eagle watchers and provide information to help them make the most of their eagle viewing experiences. They can help with questions, and direct visitors to the best places for viewing eagles.
This is not a formal event, but rather a self-guided, individual exploration, so no preregistration is required. The public is invited to come by anytime between 10 and 2 and talk with a naturalist to help get them started. Eagle viewers should bring binoculars or a spotting scope and dress warmly. Participants will be asked to maintain social distance from staff and others and follow St. Louis County mask mandates.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road in north St. Louis County. The area can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately three miles.
MDC offers many free educational programs in the St. Louis region to help people discover nature, fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. Stay informed by going to the MDC St. Louis reginal events page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZP6.