Bald Eagles Put on a Show in Missouri

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Jim Rathert

Back in the late 1970s, bald eagles were well on their way to extinction in the lower 48 states – it was rare to see one in the wild. Thanks to good environmental management in the years that followed, bald eagles have made a comeback. In fact, there are about 500 active nests in Missouri.

During the winter, the Show-Me State is an eagle magnet as the birds move south following open water. Because the locks, dams and power stations on the state’s rivers and lakes, especially the Mississippi River, keep some water from freezing and have a tendency to stun fish – eagles’ favorite food – the majestic birds find Missouri the perfect winter getaway.

Eagle watching is a big draw for residents and visitors alike. The Missouri Department of Conservation hosts Eagle Days events at locations throughout the state from December through February. Activities include special programs and eagle viewing with assistance from volunteers and spotting scopes.

Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days features live eagle programs, a photography contest and two locations for viewing eagles in the wild.

In addition to Eagle Days events, there are many places in Missouri to see eagles during the winter. Some of the best viewing spots include:

Be sure to dress for the weather – and don’t forget your binoculars or a spotting scope for the best view.