More opportunities to view eagles this year

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Roaring River State Park has added an extra eagle viewing event to its list of winter activities this year.

The first program will be held at the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17. Other events will be held on Jan. 21, 2012, and Feb. 18, 2012.

"People like to see the eagles," said Tim Smith, Roaring River naturalist. "Over the last 15 years, the number of eagles has increased, but it is still a bird that a lot of people love to see."

The eagle viewing program begins with a 30-minute video that contains information on what was done to reintroduce bald eagles in Missouri. Nature center staff members will be available to answer questions and share additional information on the eagle re-introduction success that has been seen in the state.

After the educational video, attendees will be invited to head outside to view some of the eagles that make Roaring River their home. In the past, eagle viewing participants have seen up to seven eagles during the program.

"The number of eagles that will be spotted varies," said Smith. "One year, we were shut out and didn't see any eagles, but we usually see between one and three during the program. We are hoping each person who attends has the opportunity to see at least one eagle."

Individuals planning to attend the eagle viewing program should wear appropriate winter clothing to the event.

"Bring cameras and binoculars, and plan on having a good time," said Smith.

Eagle viewing events are often held in the rain or snow. In the event of inclement weather, staff members will put up a canopy near the nature center to allow attendees to view eagles from a dry area.

The eagle viewing program usually lasts around one hour, but attendees are encouraged to view eagles for as long as they want. Nature center staff members will be available to answer questions during the viewing.

In the past, Roaring River has offered two eagle viewing events each year. This year, a third event was added to give more community members an opportunity to view eagles in the park.

"We decided to try February, because the park is starting to get busy again and the eagles are still around," said Smith. "The weather is also often better by February. We hope to see people attend the event."

In addition to adding a third eagle viewing opportunity this year, the nature center staff is adding a new winter program. First Day Hike will be offered on New Years Day, Jan. 1, 2012.

For more information on the eagle viewing or hiking events, call the nature center at 847-3742.

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