Illinois & Iowa – The Mississippi River is the second most-visited U.S. natural resource (after the Grand Canyon). The bald eagles find it a pretty popular place to visit as well.
Each year from December through February, thousands of bald eagles migrate south to winter along the Mississippi River near the lock and dams. Turbulence created below the dams provides open water and a smorgasbord of stunned fish for eagles to feast upon. In addition, the wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi are excellent habitat for roosting and an increasing number of cases nesting. It’s not uncommon to see more than 10 eagles in one tree!
CONTEST - TravelMississippiRiver.org is now holding a contest so you can win a weekend getaway this winter to go eagle watching in one of five different communities along the Mississippi River in Illinois and Iowa. Sign up today at www.TravelMississippiRiver.org. The contest continues through January 11, 2016.
Bald Eagle Days is the feature celebration on January 8-10, 2016, at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Avenue in Rock Island, Ill. It is the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the United States’ national symbol of freedom. Hours: Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $1 for kids. The annual event includes: live eagle programs and live bird of prey demonstrations; Pella Wildlife Company will have programs showing their wolves; and Niabi Zoo will be there with exotic animals. There are over 100 display booths. There will also be spotting scopes set up and manned by the Quad City Audubon Society at Sunset Marina in Rock Island for a great eagle watching opportunity with free shuttle bus service from the Expo Center. Visit www.qccaexpocenter.com for more information.
The Mississippi River Visitor Center on Arsenal Island, between Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois, offers free eagle watches and Clock Tower tours on January 2, 16, 23, 30 and February 6 at 9:30-11:00 a.m. and 2:00-3:30 p.m. Space is limited. For required reservations, call 309-794-5338. Visit www.missriver.org for more information.
The Clinton/Fulton Bald Eagle Watch is Saturday, January 9, 2016, at Lock & Dam 13 (Fulton, Ill.) and Clinton Community College for indoor exhibits. Outdoor viewing is at Lock & Dam 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Exhibits and programs at Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd. in Clinton, Iowa, are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is free bus service from the college to the outdoor viewing area. For more information, call the Thomson Ranger office: 815-259-3628 or visitwww.clintoniowatourism.com or www.cityoffulton.us.
The annual Keokuk Bald Eagle Days are January 16-17, 2016, with free indoor programs and an Environmental Fair from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the River City Mall, 300 Main St., Keokuk, Iowa. It includes live eagle programs, Native American activities, Woodcarvers' Exhibits and Demonstrations, World Bird Sanctuary Presentations, interesting seminars, children’s pioneer activities, and an Artifact Road Show. There is also eagle viewing with spotting scopes at the riverfront on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Visit www.keokukiowatourism.org for more information.
During the Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 16, 2016, you can join in on the fun from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by participating in children’s activities at the Grand River Center, 500 Bell Street, in Dubuque. Exhibitors will also be available with educational displays. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. enjoy outdoor viewing at Lock & Dam 11. Visit www.traveldubuque.com for more information.
LeClaire, Iowa, hosts a Bald Eagle Photo Presentation on Sunday, January 17, 2016, at the LeClaire Civic Center, 127 S. Cody Road. At 2:00 p.m., wildlife photographer, Burt Gearhart, will give a free all-ages slide presentation and lecture about Bald Eagles and their everyday lives in Iowa. LeClaire has great eagle viewing at Lock & Dam 14. Visit www.visitleclaire.com for more information.
The Quincy Bald Eagle Watch is January 23-24, 2016, with indoor exhibits and activities from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Oakley Lindsay Civic Center, 300 Civic Center Plaza in Quincy Illinois. While centered on eagle-watching, guests will also enjoy Quincy’s spectacular architecture, museums, and culinary offerings. For more information, call the Quincy Ranger office: 217-228-0890 or visit www.seequincy.com
Learn about bald eagles during an Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 10 a.m.-12 noon at the Welcome Center at the Port of Burlington, 400 N. Front Street in Burlington, Iowa. Then go out and help physically count eagles at Lock & Dam 18. For more information, contact 319-753-5808 or www.greaterburlington.com
On Saturday, January 23, 2016, go eagle-watching in Muscatine during the day with outdoor viewing from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Lock & Dam 16. There is Live Eagle programs at 9:30 & 11:00 a.m. and environmental exhibits at the Pearl City Station, 1100 Harbor Dr. in Muscatine, Iowa, in Riverside Park. For more information, call the Muscatine Ranger office: 563-263-7913 or visit www.visitmuscatine.com.
The Muscatine County Arts Council presents the Eagles & Ivories Concert Series Weekend on January 29-31, 2016. The Eagles and Ivories concert series features Ragtime’s greatest. Evening concert tickets are $15.00 each and are available at the door, or you can purchase the three-day concert package for $40.00. Children 16 and under are free to all events. Visit www.muscatineartscouncil.org for more information.
Have a chance for multiple sightings during the Bald Eagle Bus Tours on February 13 and 27, 2016. This four-hour bus tour stops at multiple sites to show bald eagles feeding, roosting, and/or nesting. Reservations required; adults are $70, youth under 17 are $50. Each tour departs at 8 a.m. from the Stoney Creek Inn, 940 Galena Square Dr., Galena, Ill. Contact 815-594-2306 for reservations or go to www.eaglenature.com. Visit www.galena.org for more information.
More than a dozen Travel & Tourism groups in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have joined forces to promote traveling along the Mississippi River Valley. Visitwww.TravelMississippiRiver.org or find us on Facebook to check out regional events, trendy shopping areas, charming restaurants and historic sites. Use the website to plan your next weekend getaway!