At this time of year, most gardens have been plowed and are resting up for the spring. So what can we outdoorsy people do while our gardens are sleeping? Check out your state’s conservation department’s website and see if they are sponsoring any special wildlife observation days. Last weekend, my husband and I attended the 34th annual Eagle Days at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City, Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service team up every year to provide an opportunity for the general public to tour the wetlands and observe bald eagles, swans, geese, cranes, and many varieties of waterfowl. Spotting scopes are located at various places around the lake for close-up views.
The highlight of the trip for us was a fifty minute long program about eagles and raptors that included a live bald eagle, a golden eagle, and an American Kestrel. It’s fascinating to see these birds up close. I was surprised to hear how annoying the bald eagle’s voice is! Its voice is quite undignified compared to its appearance.
At the program, we learned that bald eagles like rainy and rather nasty weather. I confirmed that fact the next day as I drove home in the fog from church. I had just crossed a bridge about five miles from our farm when I noticed a bald eagle sitting in a tree next to the road.
The American Kestrel is a cute little raptor that’s about the size of a dove. They are so small that they often go unnoticed as they balance on utility wires and soar over gardens and pastures. I’m going to see if I can spot one around our farm. I think I have seen them, but didn’t know what I was looking at.
The Missouri Conservation Department will be co-sponsoring another Eagle Day event at Smithville Lake in Smithville, Mo the weekend of January 5-6, 2013. I assure you that it will be a fun way to spend a January day, especially after the hectic holiday season. If you go, don’t forget your camera!