Programs offer excellent opportunity to view bald eagles
January 22, 2014 1:58PM
Updated: February 24, 2014 1:09PM
Winter weather in Indiana makes it an appealing place to spend the cold months, at least for bald eagles. Two events this weekend offer guided caravans to see eagles in the wild as part of big birding weekends.
The Eagles in Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park and the Eagle Watch Weekend at Lake Monroe in Bloomington both feature an interesting and informative range of programs about bald eagles plus other birds residing in, or passing through, Indiana in winter.
Both also offer opportunities to see some beautiful birds up close. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, young or old, a novice or an experienced birdwatcher, there will be something for everyone with an interest in birds at these events.
† The Eagles in Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park starts tomorrow evening with two programs that should be a hoot.
In the first program attendees will get a chance to see owls up close. Rehabilitators who care for these once-injured animals will bring them indoors for an educational program about these fascinating birds. Following that, pointers will be given on talking with owls before the next program — an outdoor owl hike.
Early birds can join Saturday or Sunday’s 5:45 a.m. (Central time) eagle roost road trip.
“The roosts are overnight spots for many birds. We plan to get there just before they leave and fly out for the day,” explained Barbara Tibbets, an interpretive naturalist at Turkey Run.
“Parke County has one of the highest eagle overwintering populations in the state. The birds come down from points north, as far as Canada, and stay where there is reliable open water that doesn’t freeze so they can fish. There are generally about 200 here in the winter, so you’re guaranteed to see some eagles in the wild over the weekend,” according to Tibbets.
Several of these nests are accessible by road and will be featured in a field trip during the Eagles in Flight Weekend program. Other programs included are bird hikes, a bird banding demonstration, opportunities to see a rehabilitated bald eagle and other raptors up close, and more.
Admission for the entire weekend of programming is $15 for ages 13 and up, $10 for 4 to 12, with children under 4 admitted free. Lodging packages are offered through the Turkey Run Inn at (877) 500-6151.
Turkey Run State Park is in Marshall. Driving time is about 2½ hours. For more information and a detailed program, go to www.in.gov/dnr/parklake or call (765) 597-2654.
† The 14th annual Eagle Watch Weekend at Lake Monroe starts early Friday morning with a bird count and ends on Sunday morning with a program about the impact on bird habitat by alien and invasive plants.
In between are a dozen programs and outings from ‘The Basics of Birding” to talks by an avian audio recording expert and two Indiana University biology professors explaining the reasons why some species lay two eggs while others lay 20 or 30 a season.
But the weekend highlight is seeing eagles. Regional experts will lead an eagle viewing tour on Saturday afternoon after a morning talk on Indiana’s bald eagles.
For a complete list of the programs offered during Eagle Watch Weekend or to register, go online to www.eaglesatlakemonroe.com. The registration fee to attend all sessions is $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger.
Eagle Watch Weekend is held at Fourwinds Resort and Marina, 9301 S. Fairfax Road in Bloomington, about a 3½-hour drive from Northwest Indiana. Discounted accommodations for attendees of this event are available by calling (800) 824-2628.