Bald eagles migrate southward on the chilly winds of early winter. Dozens or even hundreds usually congregate at the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City where they can feed on fish and waterfowl. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will provide a special opportunity to view them at the refuge during the 44th annual Eagle Days on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3.
The free Eagle Days activities will include live captive eagle shows and interpretive stops along the driving tour of the refuge wetlands. The event’s driving tour will have educational nature interpretive stops for visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3. The World Bird Sanctuary staff will present live eagle shows in a building at the refuge headquarters. Those eagles have been rehabilitated from injuries but cannot be released back into the wild. Live eagle shows will be given each hour starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2 and 11 a.m. on Dec. 3.
Besides eagles, visitors will be able to see wildlife at wetland pools such as trumpeter swans, geese, ducks, and shore birds. MDC staff, Missouri Master Naturalists, and Loess Bluffs staff will be welcoming visitors and interpreting nature exhibits.
The numbers of waterfowl and eagles at Loess Bluffs vary with weather being a major factor. Winter weather to the north can push thousands of snow geese and other waterfowl south to the refuge. That also attracts eagles, and sometimes dozens can be seen perched on trees near the driving tour route or on muskrat lodges out on the marshes. However, a major cold snap that covers the wetland with ice can send migrating birds farther south. Often though, Eagle Days has plentiful wildlife for viewing. Visitors will find cameras and binoculars useful.
Spotting scopes will be set up at key points along the tour route for visitors to spot wildlife far out on the marshes. Interpretive stations along the tour route will include displays about mammals, bald eagles, snow geese, and other waterfowl, duck calling and waterfowl hunting, and wetland management. Friends of Loess Bluffs and other conservation partners will have outreach tables.
For more information about the Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Click or tap this link.