Mound City, Mo. – The weather was mild for the the 39th annual Eagle Days at the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge Dec. 1-3. But luckily, enough cold weather had occurred to the north this autumn to push snow geese, trumpeter swans, ducks and Canada geese southward. Watchable wildlife was plentiful in the Loess Bluffs wetlands as visitors took the driving tour through the refuge marshes. And the guests of honor were present, adult and juvenile bald eagles sitting on tree limbs, flying, and resting atop muskrat houses in the marsh.
Eagle Days is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Missouri State Parks, and other public or private conservation partners. Dickerson Park Zoo put on a live eagle show with captive eagles that have been rehabilitated from injuries. Visitors viewed nature exhibits and stopped at educational interpretative stations along the driving tour through the marshes.
More than 700 school students, teachers and chaperones visited Eagle Days on Dec. 1, the day designated for school participation, said Adam Brandsgard, MDC education consultant.
Warm weather brought a strong turnout for the Dec. 2 and 3 Eagle Day activities for the general public, said Lindsey Landowski, Loess Bluffs refuge manager. Two Boy Scout Troops hiked the 10-mile auto tour loop and visitors also hiked the trails through the forest and prairie covered loess soil hills that give the refuge its name.
“Eagles were sometimes seen strafing the ducks and geese, putting on a show,” Landowski said. “A few bald eagle nests are visible from the auto tour route, including a nest on the west side of the refuge that hatched three eaglets this past spring. The parents have been seen at that nest again this fall.”
Besides nesting bald eagles, Missouri gets visits each winter from migrating eagles. They congregate where they can find food such as fish and waterfowl. They are sometimes spotted in the Kansas City area along the Missouri River.
MDC and conservation partners will host the 23rd Annual Eagle Days at Smithville Lake Jan. 6-7. A live eagle program and nature exhibits will be presented at the Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse, 18212 Golf Course Drive, Smithville. Spotting scopes will be set up where wild eagles are visiting the lake. Activities will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7. For information, call 816-532-0174.
For information about other places to see eagles in Missouri, and other Eagle Days events, visit http://bit.ly/2gpIH8W.