Eagle Viewing

Illinois offers great opportunities to learn about and view bald eagles. There are three Illinois Main Street communities offering educational programs or viewing opportunities for eagle lovers. They are Alton, Quincy and Rock Island.

Start your eagle viewing tour in the Main Street town of Alton. Each year over 1,000 eagles migrate to the Alton area and make their winter home along the Missouri and Mississippi River bluffs. The best months for viewing are December through February.

The “Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway”, also known as the “Great River Road National Scenic Byway” provides exceptional eagle viewing as it parallels the Mississippi River. Visit the lock & dam in Alton. The best time to view bald eagles here is from sunrise to 12 pm.

In addition to eagle viewing, Alton offers three eagle events during the winter. They are the Eagle Meet and Greet, Meet Liberty and Masters of the Sky.

The Eagle Meet and Greet is held every Saturday in January at the Alton Visitors Center. It offers live eagle demonstrations by World Bird Sanctuary. Meet Liberty is held three Sundays in January at the National Great Rivers Museum. Bring the family and meet Liberty the Eagle, take a tour of the museum and locks & dams. Masters of the Sky is held on a Saturday in February at the museum. Learn about birds of prey in this educational seminar. See eagles, falcons, owls and other birds of prey in person! For specific dates and times of these events please contact the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-ALTON-IL.

Continue your eagle viewing tour by traveling northwest of Alton to the Main Street town of Quincy. Like Alton, Quincy has increased winter tourism by promoting eagle viewing. Several endangered bald eagles make their home in Quincy on the shores of the Mississippi River. Lock & Dam no. 21 is a good eagle viewing location. Take a trip down the Gardner Expressway, south of Quincy, and you’ll also have a chance at seeing a bald eagle.

Quincy hosts its “Bald Eagle Watch” at Quincy City Park. Outdoor eagle viewing will take place from 10am – 4pm. For more information please call 217-228-0890.

Further to the north is the Main Street town of Rock Island, offering exceptional bald eagle viewing from late December to mid-February. Near Lock & Dam no. 14 & 15 is where the bald eagles gather and make their homes for the winter. Keep your eyes open for diving eagles! It is not unusual to spot an eagle swooping down into the open water for fish.

Plan your tour to include the “Bald Eagle Watch & Clock Tower Tours” at the Quad Cities Convention & Expo Center. The Annual Bald Eagle Days is another festive event Rock Island hosts at the Quad Cities Convention & Expo Center. Log on to http://www.qccaexpocenter.com for more information about this event.

For a complete listing of “Eagle Watch” events in Illinois, please log on to our website at www.SaveOurEagles.org.

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