Normally at this time of year, the Missouri Department of Conservation hosts numerous Eagle Days events across the state, promoting eagle watching, education and conservation of the majestic birds through live demonstrations and in-person eagle-watching programs for audiences of all ages.
This year, due to COVID-19, all Eagle Days events for 2020 and 2021 were canceled. Instead, conservation officials are giving the public several opportunities to discover, appreciate and celebrate American bald eagles online with a variety of virtual programs. Here are some of the events coming to a computer monitor, phone or tablet screen near you:
— “Conservation Crafters: Happy Little Eagles” invites visitors ages 15 and older to gather their own supplies and paint a bald eagle on canvas from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Led by a naturalist with MDC, Nicki Wheaton, the virtual program will cover information about bald eagles as participants follow along to create their own eagle painting. To sign up, all participants need to do is register at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZEX. Wheaton said the project can be completed with an 11-by-17-inch canvas, some inexpensive brushes and acrylic paint in shades of blues, greens, yellows, whites and browns. “(You can) bring out your inner artist, and experience the joy of painting,” she said.
— “Eagles for Elementary Investigation” is a part of the MDC Discover Nature Schools program and is designed for home-school students in the third and fourth grades, although it is open to all ages. The virtual class will include information about eagles and focus on their arrival and behavior in Missouri during the winter months. The free, virtual course will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. Jan. 21. To register, visit https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/174679.
— “Birds: Eagle Days and Other Conservation Success Stories” is a virtual version of Eagle Days held by the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. The programs will give participants a virtual look at live, rehabilitated eagles and give viewers a chance to participate in online question-and-answer sessions. Sessions are scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. and again from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 23, and from noon to 1 p.m. and from 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 6. Registration for the first session can be completed at https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/175583 and links to the other sessions are listed at https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/AllEvents?EventTypeId=13.
According to MDC officials, during the winter months, Missouri’s population of bald eagles swells to more than 2,500, due to birds migrating from the north.
This makes much of the Show-Me State — especially areas surrounding lakes, streams and other bodies of water — a prime location for eagle viewing.
For more information about eagles in Missouri and eagle-themed virtual events, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website at https://mdc.mo.gov.