Back to Nature: Eagle Awareness Weekend

Jill M. Rohrbach
Bundle up and grab your camera or binoculars – it’s that time of year when eagles soar through The Natural State.

Each year, approximately 100 Bald Eagles migrate to the Bull Shoals area in the north central part of the state. An annual Eagle Awareness Weekend offers the public information on and tours to see our national symbol. This year it will be on Jan. 8-9 at the Bull Shoals-White River State Park in Bull Shoals.

Events will include lake and river tours, guided bird walks, guest speakers, live bird demonstrations, kids’ activities and live entertainment. Admission is free, except for the lake and river cruises, which have a small cost. A detailed list of activities can be found below, or you can call 870-445-3629 for more information.


Of course, eagles can be seen in plenty of other parts of Arkansas, and several state parks offer eagle watch weekends. You can find these activities by clicking on the Calendar of Events at www.arkansas.com or www.arkansasstateparks.com. The park is located at 153 Dam Overlook Lane.

Eagle Awareness 2010: Bull Shoals-White River State Park

Friday, January 8

*River Cruises (1.5 hours) Take a guided river boat tour down the White River to learn about the history of the river and get a chance to see some of our native wildlife and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Cruises will be offered throughout the day with the last cruise at 2 p.m. River conditions may limit availability. The cost is $15 per person per boat. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: State Park Trout Dock

9 a.m. Lake Cruise (1.5 hours) Take a guided tour on Bull Shoals Lake and get a chance to see some wintering waterfowl and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Trips on the lake are chilly this time of year so please dress appropriately. You may want to bring along binoculars, a camera, or a field guide if you have one. Lake conditions may limit availability. The cost is $9 for adults, $4 for children. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock (Meet at dock office)

2 p.m. Lake Cruise (1.5 hours) Take a guided tour on Bull Shoals Lake and get a chance to see some wintering waterfowl and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Trips on the lake are chilly this time of year so please dress appropriately. You may want to bring along binoculars, a camera, or a field guide if you have one. Lake conditions may limit availability. The cost is $9 for adults, $4 for children. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock (Meet at dock office)

3-8 p.m. Audubon Society of North Central Arkansas will be available to answer questions and provide free brochures and information. Don’t miss your chance to purchase unique hand-crafted wooden flowers, bird feeders or Audubon specialty T-shirts. All proceeds go to the Send a Child to the Halberg Ecology Camp. When you stop by don’t forget to register for prize drawings (you need not be present at the time of drawing to win).
Location: James A. Gaston Visitor Center Lobby

4 p.m. Beginning Bird Watching (1 hour) Dr. Dan Scheiman from Audubon Arkansas will present a beautifully illustrated program introducing birds and bird watching. You will get a feel for the tools and skills needed to bird watch and also learn what you can do to get involved with bird conservation.
Location: James A. Gaston Visitor Center Classrooms

5-8 p.m. Bird Bonanza Join us at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center for a variety of activities exploring the world of birds. Look for the activity stations which will be set up throughout the visitor center.

5:30 p.m. Mountaintop Birds (1 hour) Birding on Arkansas mountaintops can be challenging and surprising. Being able to identify birds by sound becomes more important. This program will help you develop that skill and use it anywhere.
Location: James A. Gaston Visitor Center Classrooms

5:30 p.m. Owl Prowl (1 hour) Join us as we learn about some of the fascinating “creatures of the night” found in Bull Shoals-White River State Park. As we prowl the forest, you’ll get a chance to hear and possibly see a wild owl. Bundle up, and bring a flashlight if you can.
Location: Meet at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center Front Desk

7-8 p.m. Live Raptor Meet and Greet Meet several owls, hawks and a Bald Eagle from the Little Rock Zoo as handlers provide insight and answer questions. This is a great photo opportunity and a chance to get closer to these magnificent birds than you may have ever been before!
Location: Various locations at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center

8:30 p.m. Owl Prowl (1 hour) Join us as we learn about some of the fascinating “creatures of the night” found in Bull Shoals-White River State Park. As we prowl the forest, you’ll get a chance to hear and possibly see a wild owl. Bundle up, and bring a flashlight if you can.
Location: Meet at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center Front Desk

Saturday, January 9

*River Cruises (1.5 hours) Take a guided river boat tour down the White River to learn about the history of the river and get a chance to see some of our native wildlife and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Cruises will be offered throughout the day with the last cruise at 2 p.m. River conditions may limit availability. The cost is $15 per person per boat. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: State Park Trout Dock

9 a.m. Avian Adventure Walk (1hour) Enjoy a guided bird walk along the banks of the White River to see eagles, osprey, waterfowl, and other winter wildlife. Dress warmly and bring a pair of binoculars and/or a field guide if you have them.
Location: Gaston’s River Trail (Ask any park staff for directions)

9 a.m. Van Tour (1 hour) Sit back, relax, and enjoy a free van tour as we go to strategic locations to view eagles, ospreys, and other winter wildlife. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: Meet at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center Lobby

9 a.m. Lake Cruise (1.5 hours) Take a guided tour on Bull Shoals Lake and get a chance to see some wintering waterfowl and maybe even a Bald Eagle. Trips on the lake are chilly this time of year so please dress appropriately. You may want to bring along binoculars, a camera, or a field guide if you have one. Lake conditions may limit availability. The cost is $9 for adults, $4 for children. Seats are limited. No reservations: first-come basis.
Location: Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock (Meet at dock office)

10 a.m. Feathered Friends (1.5 hours) Join park staff and volunteers for a festival of birds. Experience a variety of unique and entertaining children’s programs focused on our feathered friends. Feathered Friends door prize drawings will be held at 11:30 a.m. immediately following the close of the activities.
Location: James A. Gaston Visitor Center Classrooms

10 a.m.–2 p.m. Bird Bonanza Join us at the James A. Gaston Visitor Center for a variety of activities exploring the world of birds. Look for the activity stations set up throughout the visitor center and find out about a special discount in the visitor center gift shop.

10:30 a.m. Avian Adventure Walk (1hour) Enjoy a guided bird walk along the banks of the White River to see eagles, osprey, waterfowl, and other winter wildlife. Dress warmly and bring a pair of binoculars and/or a field guide if you have them.
Location: Gaston’s River Trail (Ask any park staff for directions)

10 a.m-8 p.m. Audubon Society of North Central Arkansas will be available to answer questions and provide free brochures and information. Don’t miss your chance to purchase unique hand-crafted wooden flowers, bird feeders or Audubon specialty T-shirts. All proceeds go to the Send a Child to the Halberg Ecology Camp. When you stop by don’t forget to register for prize drawings (you need not be present at the time of drawing to win).
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Location: James A. Gaston Visitor Center Lobby
2 p.m. – 8 p.m. Location: Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts

12 p.m. Lake Cruise See 9 a.m. for details
Van Tour See 9 a.m. for details

1 p.m. Falcon Flying Demonstration (45 minutes) Join expert falconer Howard Davis as he demonstrates the beauty of a bird of prey in flight. Howard will be set up in the lawn north of the visitor center parking lot. Bring your camera!
Location: Outside the James A. Gaston Visitor Center

2 p.m. Raptor Rehab (1 hour) Wildlife rehabilitators give wildlife a second chance. Learn from Lynn Sciumbato, a licensed raptor rehabilitator and meet several of the birds she is rehabilitating.
Location: Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts

2 p.m. Lake Cruise See 9 a.m. for details
Van Tour See 9 a.m. for details

3:30 p.m. Howard Davis Falconry (1.5 hours) Howard Davis is an expert falconer and keeper of birds of prey. He will present his birds and demonstrate some of their abilities. He is an exceptional speaker and will share his love of birds and birding through this interactive session of show and tell.
Location: Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts

5 p.m. Live Eagle and Birds of Prey Demonstration (1.5 hours) Ever seen a Bald Eagle up close and personal? You will if you attend the Little Rock Zoo’s presentation on birds of prey. In addition to having an eagle, they will showcase various other birds of prey and demonstrate their abilities. Be sure to come early for a good seat!
Location: Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts

7 p.m. Violet Hensley and Family (45 minutes) Join the celebrated whittling fiddler from Yellville, AR for a toe-tappin’ good time with some of the best traditional fiddle music in the U.S.
Location: Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts

Drop by the James A. Gaston Visitor Center and enjoy these additional highlights:

· An art exhibition by the Bull Shoals Art Club
· Crooked Creek Conservation information booth
· Arkansas Game and Fish Commission information booth

Posted in Kids

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