Winter is an ideal time to see eagles in the wild as they congregate to feed near the open waters at dams along the Fox River, and an outdoor event is planned Jan. 9 to capitalize on that timing.
The “In Search of Eagles” event will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. that day at three dams, followed by an online presentation in the afternoon that will focus on the recovery of bald eagles and ospreys in Wisconsin, according to a news release.
Representatives from Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the McHenry County Conservation District and the McHenry County Audubon Society will help attendees search for eagles and identify other birds using the river at the McHenry Dam, the Algonquin Dam and the Carpenter Dam.
Attendees are asked to wear face masks and bring their own binoculars. Binoculars, however, are not required to see the birds in the wild. Maps to all locations are posted online at MCCD.me/Eagles21.
The MCCD then will host “Eagles and Osprey, Back from the Brink,” a virtual program for people ages 14 and older from 1 to 2 p.m. online via the Zoom platform.
Christian W. Cold, a retired wildlife technician and educator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Bureau of Wildlife Management, will present an overview on the biology, life history and current status of bald eagles and ospreys in Wisconsin. He will provide a historical account of the decline and subsequent recovery of these iconic fish-eating raptors who are valued as living barometers of the health of the environment.
Registration for the virtual program is required online at MCCD.me/EaglesOsprey21 or by calling 815-479-5779. The program is free for McHenry County residents and $2 for nonresidents. Access information will be sent to registrants via email.
In addition to the events planned for Jan. 9, the organizations involved are asking area residents to report where they are seeing eagles. Sightings are being collected online at tinyurl.com/eaglesightings as a resource for people who want to look for eagles on their own. Sightings and photos can be shared on the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page at facebook.com/FriendsHackmatackNWR or at eBird.org.