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Eagle watching for birders of all levels

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Updated: February 11, 2013 7:23AM



Early birds, night owls and all in between won’t be disappointed at two interesting upcoming eagle-watching events in Indiana: the Eagles in Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park, and the Eagle Watch Weekend at Lake Monroe.

Both events will be held Feb. 1 through 3, and both are family-friendly and offer programs for beginning to experienced birders, from early in the morning into the evening.

“The reason we can have this event is that we’re at this lovely, magical spot where you may see up to 200 eagles. This area has plenty of flowing water that doesn’t freeze, like on Sugar Creek, and we’re not far from the Wabash, so many eagles come here over the winter for open water where they can catch fish,” explained Barbara Cummings, an interpretive naturalist at Turkey Run State Park.

“Whether or not we see them, and how many we see, depends on how much water is frozen,” she said. “When the water is not frozen they disperse and are scattered all over. But when the water is frozen, they congregate at places with open water.”

The conditions are similar at Lake Monroe, where patches of open water are spots where the eagles are most likely to be seen.

Both events include an interesting variety of indoor programs plus road trips to see eagles and other birds in the wild.

Both events are supported by local birding groups and birding experts who are already going into the field to find the spots where the eagles are roosting and fishing. They will guide weekend participants to viewing the hottest local spots, and be on hand with powerful birding scopes for a closeup look and to share information and answer questions.

The Eagles in Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park begins with an indoor Friday evening program with live owls from the Chamberlain Raptor Rehab Center at Hardy Lake and is followed by an owl hike. Saturday’s activities include two road trips, indoor programs on raptor identification and falconry, an opportunity to see a bald eagle up close, and evening musical entertainment. The Sunday programs include a road trip, hike and bird banding demonstration.

Admission for any or all of these programs is $15 for adults, $10 for ages 4 to 12, and free for children up to age 4. There is a daily gate fee of $5 for Indiana plated vehicles. Lodging and meals are available at the Turkey Run Inn. Call (765) 597-2654 for program details, and (877) 500-6151 for lodging information.

Turkey Run State Park is in Marshall, Ind.

The Eagle Watch Weekend at Lake Monroe starts with a Friday morning bird count followed by a birding workshop. Saturday’s activities include programs on beginning birding, bald eagles, the eagles at Lake Monroe, a field road trip, and a presentation on bird breeding by IU biology professors Jim and Susan Hengeveld. Sunday wraps up with a road trip focusing on bird identification by their calls. The evening programs are still being developed, but have included up-close live bird demonstrations in past years.

Admission for any or all of these programs is $12 for adults, and $5 for children up to age 12, with an online advance registration discount offered. Lodging, including multi-bedroom condominiums, and meals are available at the Eagle Pointe Golf Resort. Go online to www.eaglesatlakemonroe.com for program details and links to registration and accommodations.

This event takes place at the Eagle Pointe Resort in Bloomington.



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