Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eagle Tours Registration Begins Dec. 10

Reservations open next week for the Bald Eagle tours at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. The tours take place the third and fourth weekends of January and begin at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and last 2.5 hours. The dates are January 19-20 and 26-27.

Reservations open on December 10 and may be made by calling 618-998-5933.

Each Eagle Watch tour begins at the refuge visitors center on Route 148 with a brief overview of the species and what visitors might expect to see on the tour. The tours use the refuge's vans and travel to places where bald eagles have been visited in the past.
Last year, of the six nests on the Refuge, five had at least one chick fledge. The new nest in Crab Orchard Campground was successful and hatched two eaglets. Eagles were seen at the other new nest on the east side of Little Grassy Lake near thedam, but they didn't actually produce any eaglets.

With six nests on the refuge, there should be at last 12 eagles on or near the refuge year round. Immature bald eagles usually remain near their nest for a couple of years after they've hatched, too. Wolf Creek Causeway near the fishing piers is a good places to spot one of the young eagles.

Bald eagles that winter at Crab Orchard NWR spend their summers in the northern United States and Canada feasting on fish. In the midst of the Southern Illinois winter, eagles often feed on sick and injured waterfowl.

According to the refuge's newsletter "Wild Times" every Eagle Watch tour over the last decade has seen at least one bald eagle.

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