2018 Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days begins Saturday
Wednesday, 03 January 2018
Special to GUIDON

You’ll need to get out your coats, hats and gloves to participate in one of the most popular winter events at the Lake of the Ozarks this weekend. The Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days is scheduled to return for its 18th year at the lake on Saturday and Sunday, with eagle-watching events at Willmore Lodge and below the Bagnell Dam on the Osage River and activities at Osage National Golf Resort and School of the Osage Heritage Elementary.

Missouri is one of the leading lower 48 states for bald eagle viewing, thanks to its abundant wetlands, rivers and lakes, including the Lake of the Ozarks. Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt. Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plentiful food. More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter.

Eagle watching is an important part of Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days events. Eagles are attracted to wetlands, rivers and lakes.
The first live eagle program at the Lake of the Ozarks was held in 1999 and attracted 651 participants. Last year, more than 3,700 people attended, making it one of the most successful events to date.

Highlights of this year’s program will include live eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary with naturalists on hand to answer questions at Osage National Golf Resort from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Wild eagle viewing will be available from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Willmore Lodge and at the Bagnell Dam Access, where visitors can also enjoy free hot chocolate and view an eagle nest building project by Missouri Master Naturalists. Visitors are urged to bring binoculars and cameras for optimal viewing and photo opportunities.

In addition to eagles, other birds of prey, such as the owl pictured above, will be discussed at the School of the Osage.
At School of the Osage  Heritage Elementary, three  programs are planned,  starting with “Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gals” presented by visiting experts from the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. The first part of the program, “Day Shift,” will feature a live hawk, followed by an owl representing “Night Shift” and a turkey vulture representing “Garbage Gals.” A second program focuses exclusively on owls, followed by a third program, the American Bald Eagle Program. The shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, rotating every hour. School of the Osage Heritage Elementary will also have activities for kids, coloring contests and vendors.

Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days events are free and open to the public. 

More details, including a complete schedule of events, can be found at www.LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com.

Other Eagle Days events

Separate from the Lake of the Ozarks event, the Missouri Department of Conservation holds several Eagle Days events around the state.

Each MDC Eagle Days event is free and open to the public and includes live captive-eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos and guides with spotting scopes. Visitors can watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge.

Upcoming events include:

— Kansas City: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Smithville Lake Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse. Call 816.532.0174 for more information.

— St. Louis: Jan. 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge south of I-270 off Riverview Drive in St. Louis. Call 314.301.1500 for more information.

— Springfield: Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Jan. 21 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the MDC Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Call 417.888.4237 for more information.

— Jefferson City: Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MDC Runge Conservation Nature Center. Call 573.526.5544 for details.

— Clarksville: Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lock and Dam 24 and Apple Shed Theater. Call 660.785.2424 for more information.

— Shell City: Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Schell City Community Center and Schell Osage Conservation Area. Call 417.876.5226 for details.

For more information about MDC Eagle Days events, visit the event site at mdc.mo.gov/EagleDays.

Eagle viewing areas in Missouri

Some of the best spots in Missouri for winter eagle viewing include:

— Lake of the Ozarks at Bagnell Dam Access

— Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area on Route K, southwest of Columbia

— Lock & Dam 20, Canton

— Lock & Dam 24 at Clarksville

— Lock & Dam 25 east of Winfield

— Mingo National Wildlife Refuge northwest of Puxico

— Old Chain of Rocks Bridge south of I-270, off of Riverview Drive, St. Louis

— Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area east of West Alton

— Schell-Osage Conservation Area north of El Dorado Springs

— Smithville Lake north of Kansas City

— Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Mound City

— Stella at Moses Eagle Park

— Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge south of Sumner

— Table Rock Lake and Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery southwest of Branson

— Truman Reservoir west of Warsaw

— From the Missouri Department of Conservation

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 January 2018 )