Events organized to educate participants about national symbol
PRATT -- Each winter, bald eagles migrate into Kansas, providing bird watchers the chance to observe one of the nation's most spectacular birds. To improve opportunities to view the U.S. national symbol, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) -- in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local Audubon chapters -- has scheduled a number of "Eagle Days" across the state.

Bald eagles may be observed in their native habitat at Tuttle Creek Reservoir, where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled an Eagle Day for Saturday, Jan. 5, beginning at 9 a.m. The event will start at the fire station at Dennison and Kimble. The program is free and open to the public. Dan Mulhern, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will offer a short presentation on the nesting habits of bald eagles in Kansas. Pat Silovsky, director of KDWP's Milford Nature Center near Junction City, will then show a live bald eagle and discuss eagles and other raptors.

Following the presentations, a bus tour will take participants downstream of Tuttle Creek Dam to look for bald eagles in the wild. All participants should dress for cold weather, and everyone should bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras.

For more information on Tuttle Creek Eagle Days, contact the Corps of Engineers office, 785-539-8511.

Other Eagle Days events are scheduled at the following locations:

  • Clinton Reservoir on Jan. 27, phone 785-843-7665;
  • Lawrence Free State High School on Jan. 27, phone 785-842-0475;
  • Milford Reservoir on Jan. 19-20, phone 785-238-5714.

While details for the Clinton event have yet to be confirmed, the nearby Lawrence event will begin at 10 a.m. with 25-30 exhibitors, including activities for kids. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the event will include presentations by Mike Watkins, Corps of Engineers biologist; Marty Birrell, director of the Lawrence Prairie Park Nature Center; Bob Gress, director the Great Plains Nature Center; and Bunnie Watkins, featuring "skins and skulls," a presentation on Kansas mammals. Eagle viewing tours will be held throughout the day.

Milford Reservoir will conduct its 19th Annual Eagle Days on Jan. 19 and 20. Activities for both days are open to the public and free of charge. The program will be held at the Milford Nature Center, located below Milford Dam. Each day will feature speakers, live bird presentations, and free bus trips to observe bald eagles in the wild. A biologist from the Corps of Engineers will give updates on Kansas nesting bald eagles, and additional presentations will cover raptors and owls of Kansas.

The Milford event will also include a heated tent with hands-on activities, including a life-sized eagle nest. In addition, Milford State Park will hold a Free Park Entrance Day on Jan. 19. On this day, anyone can enter the state park without paying vehicle entrance fees (camping fees still required).

Other Eagle Days may be scheduled in the near future. For more information, contact the nearest office of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.