Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Bald Eagles in Illinois

Specially Planned Programs Allow Visitors to Experience Bald Eagles and Witness the Majesty of Our National Bird

Every winter, Illinois presents visitors with the opportunity to see more than 3,100 bald eagles in their natural habitat - more wintering American bald eagles, in fact, than in any other state outside Alaska. The first eagles of the season are spotted in Illinois in December and remain in residence until they migrate back north in March, with January and February the optimal time for visitors to see eagles.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considers the magnificent American bald eagle as protected.

To accommodate visitors who want to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the bald eagles' majesty and glory, towns and parks across much of the state will host specially planned eagle observation programs and exhibits throughout the prime-viewing season. For anyone interested in American history, bird-watching and the environment, bald eagle season in Illinois is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is pleased to highlight a number of eagle-watching locations and events planned for this winter:

Pere Marquette State Park Bald Eagle Days - Grafton, IL

Programs on December 16, 29, 30; January 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 31; February 2, 6, 7, 9, 15, 21, 25; March 3.

Quad Cities Bald Eagle Days - Rock Island, IL

January 6, 7 & 8 

Quad City Conservation Alliance Expo Center - 2621 Fourth Ave, Rock Island IL

Admission and more information; 309-788-2543 www.qccaexpocenter.com

Clinton, Iowa 33nd Annual Bald Eagle Watch

January 7

  • Outdoor viewing: Lock & Dam 13, 8:30-2:30
  • Live Bird and Nature Programs: Clinton Community College, 9:00-2:00
  • Exhibits: Clinton Community College from 9:00-2:00
  • Free bus service from college to the outdoor viewing area.
  • For more information call the Thomson Ranger office: 815-259-3628.
  • Schedule of the day’s events can be found at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mississippi-River-Project/Education/Eagle-Watching/
  • Naturalists will be on hand to answer any questions. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras.

Alton–Audubon Eagle Festival at Center at the Riverlands & Downtown Alton, IL

January 7

  • Eagle Meet & Greet 10:00-2:00
  • Eagle Viewing Walks
  • Kids Activities
  • Ice Sculpting
  • Wildlife Art/Photography
  • Free Admission and shuttle tours available for more information call 800-258-6645
  • Additional information on eagle watching activities throughout the Alton area can be found at  http://www.visitalton.com/seasons/eagle 

Mississippi River Visitor Center - Rock Island IL - Eagle Watch / Clock Tower Tours

January 14 & 28; February 4 & 11

Eagle Days - The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge - Granite City - Illinois/Missouri

January 14 & 15 (9:00-3:00)

  • Live Eagle Educational Programs, every 20 minutes from 10:00-2:40
  • Viewing Scopes for Eagle Watching available 10:00-2:00
  • Hosted by the IDNR, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, and The Confluence
  • Living History Demonstrations
  • Warming Tent Activities
  • Parking available from both Illinois & Missouri Locations; call 618-462-6979 
  • For more information visit http://greatriversgreenway.org/eagledays
  • All activities are free.

Dubuque Iowa Bald Eagle Watch

January 21

Keokuk Iowa Bald Eagle Days - Lock and Dam 19

January 20, 21 & 22

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Eagle Watch, Marion, IL

January 21, 22, 28 & 29

Quincy Bald Eagle Watch – Lock and Dam 21, Quincy, IL

January 21-22

Muscatine Iowa Bald Eagle Watch

January 28

Carlyle Lake Eagle Watch

January 28 (9:00-1:00)
  • Case-Halstead Library 
  • The World Bird Sanctuary will present a Bald Eagle demonstration at 10:00 & 12:00
  • Eagle viewing from Carlyle Lake Main Dam, bring binoculars & dress accordingly for the weather.
  • For more information; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Carlyle Lake Project Office (618) 594-2484 or email carlylelake@usace.army.mil 

Bald Eagle Watch - Starved Rock State Park Lodge & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center - Utica, IL 

January 28-29 (9:00-4:00)

  • Activities at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center, Starved Rock Lodge and Illinois Waterway Visitor Center (Lock and Dam) with interpretive programs, spotting scopes, and family and children’s activities. Hosted by the Illinois Audubon Society, IDNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Audubon and Starved Rock Foundation.
  • Children’s Activities
  • Live Illinois Birds of Prey 10:00, 1:00 & 3:00
  • Update: Osprey Recovery Project presentation; Sunday 1:00-2:00
  • Youth Owl Calling Contest; Saturday 4:30 
  • Free Admission
  • Park & ride the trolley between Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock Visitor Center and the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center - $1.00
  • For Event Information, call Illinois Audubon Society 217-544-2473
  • For more information www.illinoisaudubon.org/PROGRAMSEVENTS/BaldEagleWatchWeekend.html

Bald Eagle Festival - Pere Marquette Lodge, Grafton

January 29 (11:00-3:00)
  • Festival will feature live music and entertainment by the World Bird Sanctuary as they showcase the Bald Eagle and several other raptor species in their Masters of the Sky Show at 11:00, 1:00 & 3:00.
  • $3 Tickets for the shows can be purchased on the web site in advance or at the Front Desk at 10:00 the morning of the Festival.
  • Unique vendor booths, grab a bite to eat in our restaurant, taste locally made wines.
  • The Bald Eagle Festival takes place indoors. Entry into the Festival is free, for more information visit http://www.pmlodge.net/2016/11/bald-eagle-festival/

17th Annual Eagle Day Festival - Havana & Lewistown

February 4 (9:00-3:00)

Kaskaskia Eagle Fest, Jerry F. Costello Lock & Dam - Modoc, IL

February 4 (9:00-3:00)  
 
  • Eagle watching with spotting scopes.
  • Meet feathered inhabitants of the World Bird Sanctuary 10:00, 11:00 & 1:00
  • Physic of Flight presentation given by the Natural History Education Co., of the MidSouth at 12:00 & 2:00
  • Event is free, lunch is available for a suggested donation of $5/person, to cover lunch expenses.
  • Families & leash-trained dogs welcome
  • For more information, contact the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers Kaskaskia River Project Office at 618-284-7160
  • For more info  http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/KaskaskiaRiverProject.aspx

Lake Shelbyville Eagle Day

February 11 (9:30-2:00)
  • Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center (off of Route 16 East of Main Dam) 9:30 - 2:00
  • Bald Eagle Program for Kids 10:00 - 10:30 (seating is limited)
  • Eagle Talk & Gawk (Q&A/pictures) 11:00 - 12:00
  • Birds of Prey Program 12:30 - 1:30 (seating is limited)
  • Tickets are first come, first served and can be reserved by phone or in person at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Shelbyville Project Office Monday - Friday from 8:00 - 4:30.  Remaining tickets will be available the day of the event.
  • Free Admission
  • For more information call  (217) 774-3951 

Family Eagle Watching Day/Open House at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge

February 11  (12:00-4:00)
  • Free Admission & open to the public
  • Live eagle presentation by TreeHouse Wildlife Center at 2:30
  • Junior Ranger nature hikes with refuge staff. 
  • The bald eagle photography exhibit will highlight local professional and amateur photographers and will be on display at the refuge visitor center Feb. 10-17.
  • For more information about the refuge open house, call 618-883-2524 or email tworivers@fws.gov.  For More Information, www.fws.gov/refuge/two_rivers 

Masters of the Sky Eagle Events, National Great Rivers Museum - Alton, IL

February 18 & 19 (9:00-5:00)

Mississippi River Eagle Watching

January-February 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes visitors to see bald eagles at lock and dams along the Mississippi River each winter. Locations and dates are available at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/MississippiRiverProject/Education/EagleWatching.aspx.

Friends of the Hennepin Canal ‘Hike the Canal’

February 19

Family hike centers on eagle watching along the Hennepin Canal between Lock 30 and Lock 32 (4.6 mile hike). For more information http://www.friends-hennepin-canal.org.  Hikers will meet at the Steel Dam in Milan by 1:30 pm and will be shuttled to the Mississippi to begin the walk back. The event is free, dress weather appropriately. 

In addition to special events, bald eagles have been found wintering throughout Illinois at locations including the Illinois and Michigan Canal and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in northeast Illinois; at locations all along the Illinois River; along open waters on the Du Page River and Fox River in northeast Illinois, including Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry; at Volo Bog State Natural Area, Ingleside; along the Des Plaines River near Channahon State Park, Channahon; near the I-88 bridge in North Aurora on the Fox River; on the Fox River at the Pleasant Valley Forest Preserve in Woodstock; and, along the Rock River at locations including Lowden State Park, Oregon, Illinois.