To celebrate the arrival of Bald eagles to our region, Mingo NWR and Duck Creek CA will host "Eagle Days" on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a fun and free event for all ages. (File photo by Noppadol Paothong)
There are some moments that you never forget, especially when it comes to exploring nature. One of my favorite memorable moments was the first time I saw a Bald eagle in the wild.
It was back when I was working in Bollinger County at the Banner Press. I did a lot of driving across the county during that time, going to and from interviews. I never minded that part of the job because the view out the windshield was so beautiful.
On a crisp chilly morning, much like what we're experiencing this week, I headed out of the office to pursue a story. From Marble Hill, I turned on highway 51, towards Patton, and as I rounded the curves along the highway a shadow played on the hood of my car. I thought it would be a vulture or maybe a hawk, but the shadow seemed huge. When I slowed up my car, the shadow maker swooped lower and ahead of me -- offering a perfect view of his white head and tail feathers.
Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA), which spans portions of Bollinger, Wayne and Stoddard Counties, is a wonderful place for eagle viewing, as is Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Both are located along highway 51, north of Puxico.
Due to the cold weather and frozen conditions in more northern areas, Bald eagles return to Southeast Missouri in January and February to fish and hunt. To celebrate the raptors' arrival, Mingo NWR and Duck Creek CA will host the popular "Eagle Days" event on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All activities will begin at Mingo's Maintenance Shop. The Eagle Days event is packed with learning opportunities such as exhibits at Mingo's Visitor Center, live eagle presentations and chances to view Bald eagles in the wild.
It was at an Eagle Days event a few years ago that my son had his first eagle sighting. He still talks about it. The live eagle presentations, availability to use a scope and coaching from conservation agents made it the optimum opportunity for him to learn about the birds and discover his own appreciation for our national symbol.
This chance to discover nature at Eagle Days only comes every other year. For more information on bald eagles in Missouri, go online to mdc.mo.gov. For more information about the Eagle Days event, contact Mingo National Wildlife Refuge at (573)222-3589.