Each winter, thousands of bald eagles take up residence in Missouri where they can find open water and plenty of food. To celebrate their return, the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its annual Bald Eagle Winter Watch program from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, February 25, at Hideaway Harbor Park near Portage Des Sioux.
Anyone is welcome to participate in this free program, where guests look for bald eagles, get up close and personal with the Wild Bird Sanctuary’s bald eagle, Patriot, and even help to build a life-sized eagle’s nest.
“Eagle watching at Hideaway Harbor Park is a tradition,” says Bettie Yahn-Kramer, Director of St. Charles County Parks and Recreation. “Over the years, we’ve seen eagles soaring across the park sky, perched in large pecan trees in the park, and feeding off the Mississippi River. It is a spectacular sight!”
During Bald Eagle Winter Watch, guests look for live eagles – soaring, flying, swooping down on prey, fishing, nesting and perching in park trees – through telescopes provided by the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM). They can take photos with Patriot from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the park that day.
Those who come close to the 9 a.m. start of the event can assist park staff in building a life-sized eagle’s nest. When it’s complete, they are able to step inside the huge roost for a fun picture! Additional family-friendly activities include a craft table for the kids and a nature scavenger hunt. Fire rings and hot cocoa help take off the winter chill.
Those planning to head out to Hideaway Harbor Park that day are encouraged to bring their cameras. There are always plenty of photo ops!
Hideaway Harbor Park, located at 1550 Hideaway Harbor Dr. near Portage Des Sioux, is home to many birds and wildlife in the area. The 48-acre riverside park is a popular destination for fishermen and recreational boaters, and features spectacular views of the Mississippi River and the scenic Alton bluffs.
To get to Hideaway Harbor Park from Highway 370 in St. Charles: take Highway 94 North to Grafton Ferry Road (approximately eight miles). Turn left on Grafton Ferry Road and turn right on Portage Road until you reach Sioux Drive. Turn left on Sioux Drive into the park.
In the event of inclement weather, call the park information hotline at 636-707-0011 or check for program alerts on our website at www.stccparks.org.