If you have ever been curious about bald eagles or falcons or any birds of a feather,
then keep Eagles Et Cetera ( Jan. 27-29) on your radar.
The event is Jan. 27-29 in Bismarck at DeGray Lake Resort State Park
It is the largest festival of its kind in the state, and visitors can expect many opportunities to see eagles in their natural habitat.
Once endangered in all of the lower 48 states, bald eagles, which became the national emblem of the United States in 1782, came dangerously close to extinction. However, due to increased awareness, protective legislation and widespread conservation efforts over the past 50 years, the population is making a remarkable comeback, and eagle watching is
becoming a popular pastime for nature lovers across the country.
Eagles, which are unique to North America, begin to arrive in Arkansas as early as mid-October and stay all winter long, departing around February and as late as mid-March. Over 1,700 eagles may winter here depending on weather conditions.
Wintering eagles favor the Ouachitas and Ozarks due to their favorable habitat.
The peak months for eagle watching are December through February. A tip for catching a glimpse is to get out early, as eagles soar in thermal updrafts so the best time to see one in the air is when the temperature is rising during mid- to late morning. You might not spot one based on sound recognition though, as the infamous ‘cry’ you hear on television and movies is most likely from a red-tailed hawk. Eagles make a wimpy high pitched chirping sound.
The event has not only been instrumental in showcasing the plight of the eagle nationwide but also in monitoring and revealing the welfare of eagles that live on and around DeGray Lake.
Eagles Et Cetera is DeGray Lake Resort State Park’s signature special event. Activities are scheduled throughout the weekend, including eagle-watching lake tours, guided bird walks, owl prowls, live bird demonstrations, slide presentations, games, and more. Staff and docents from the Little Rock Zoo present programs to area schools during the week and give live raptor demonstrations and performances on Friday and Saturday.
On Jan. 28 Rusty Scarborough, falconer, hosts Live Falconry, where he introduces people to the world of falconry, an art rooted in conservation and largely responsible for the abundance of falcons worldwide. Also that day join certified raptor rehabilitator Rodney Paul for Raptor Rehab, a demonstration of live rehabilitated birds, as he gives a glimpse into the challenges of healing injured raptors before they are released into the wild. Lodging and camping are available. Call 501-865-5810 beginning Jan. 23 for ticket prices and reservations for eagle watching lake tours. Please dress for the weatherfor outdoor activities. Visit www.degray.com for more information.