DeGray Lake Resort State Park home to Eagles Et Cetera

By: 
 Updated: 
Scene from Eagles Et Cetera. Photo care of DeGray Lake Resort State Park.

Every January, DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Bismarck hosts a special weekend dedicated to learning about birds and conservation. This year is the 38th annual Eagles Et Cetera event, a name chosen in honor of the American bald eagle, which was one of the first species to be listed on the nation’s endangered species list. Due to the protection it received from this, the population recovered and it was removed from this list in 2007.

Eagles Et Cetera takes place the weekend of January 27-29 and entails a chance to learn more about the species as well as other birds of prey. The agenda includes a chance to look for wintering bald eagles via guided boat tours and other interesting events throughout the weekend. Many of the programs are free but some have an admission fee. I took a look at the agenda on the state park’s website and have pieced together some details below from it to give an overview of what is offered during this special
event.

January 27

Live Falconry Hunt

2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Meet in the lobby of the state park lodge.

During this free event you can join falconer Rusty Scarborough on a hunt using a live hawk. You will take a short boat ride to a vacant Corps of Engineers area where the falconer will turn loose the hawk in search of prey. Of note, participants should also be prepared for the possibility of a successful hunt where prey is captured by the hawk. Seating is limited to 20 and reservations are taken at the lodge front desk beginning on January 26th at noon.

Guided Bird Hike

3 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: Meet in the lobby of the state park lodge.

At this free event, expert birders Glenn and Evelyn Good take you through a choice of habitats ideal for bird watching. The length and location of the hike will be determined by the group size and interest.

Eagle Watch Tour

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m: Meet in the lobby of the state park lodge.

Join a park interpreter for a guided eagle-watching tour on DeGray Lake. There you will search for wintering bald eagles, ospreys, loons,herons, grebes, ducks, and more. Bring binoculars if you have some and
be sure to dress for the weather. It is normally chillier and windier on the lake than on land. Reservations can be made beginning noon the day before at the lodge front desk. A minimum of six passengers must
be registered one hour prior to departure. Plan to arrive early to pay for your tour and receive a receipt that will act as your ticket. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, and free for those under 6 of age.

Predators of the Night

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. This takes place in the Lodge Convention Center.

During this program, Little Rock Zoo staff show their collection of owls and will teach participants about the adaptations of these predators with a chance to meet many of them up close.

Golf Course Safari

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Meet at the Golf Course Pro Shop

Participants take golf carts out on the golf course in search of owls and other nocturnal creatures. Participants must be 18 to drive and there is a limit two persons per cart. Reservations must be made in person at the lodge front desk beginning at noon January 26. Bundle up and bring a flashlight.

Owl Prowl

7:30 pm – 8:30 p.m. Meet at the lobby of the lodge.

A chance to encounter owls in the wild. This free event focuses more on the encounter and less on facts as your guide takes you on a brief hike through the nighttime forest.

Owl Adventure

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Meet at the lobby of the lodge.

A nocturnal adventure via a boat tour across DeGray Lake to try and call up owls as well as listen to the other sounds of the night. Space is limited and reservations are required and can be made at the
lodge front desk beginning at noon on January 26. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, and free for those under 6 of age.

January 28

Birding Safari

8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Meet at the Golf Course Pro Shop

You don’t have to be on foot to be a birder. You can bird from a boat, a car, or even a golf cart, as demonstrated on this tour. Participants must be 18 years old to drive and any age can ride. Limit of two
people per cart. Reservations can may be made by phone or in person at the lodge front desk beginning at noon on January 27. Admission is $5.

Eagle Watch Tours

8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Meet at the lodge lobby.

Eagle Watch Tours are offered hourly throughout the day between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours last about 75 minutes. Reservations may be made at the lodge front desk. Join a park interpreter for a guided
eagle-watching tour on DeGray Lake. We’ll search for wintering bald eagles, ospreys, loons, herons, grebes, ducks, and more. Reservations can be made beginning noon the day before at the lodge front desk. A
minimum of six passengers must be registered one hour prior to departure. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, and free for those under 6 of age.

Eaglets Activity Room

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Meet at the Lodge Convention Center Eagle Room.

The activity room will be full of kid-friendly findings from bird-themed games and crafts to the park’s collection of mounted raptors on display.

Wings of Royalty – A Falconer’s Story

10 am – 11 am: Lodge Convention Center

Once only for the rich and powerful, the art of falconry persists today. In this free program, Rusty Scarborough, master falconer, has live birds on hand as he introduces you to the world of falconry, an
art rooted in conservation.

Conservation at DeGray Lake

11 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Lodge Convention Center

During this free program, Renea Guin, a Natural Resource Specialist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, provides information on local conservation efforts over the years and update you on the latest resource management projects at DeGray Lake.

Raptor Rehab

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Meet at the Lodge Convention Center.

During this free program, Rodney Paul, a certified raptor rehabilitator, will have live rehabilitated birds on hand to teach about the challenges of healing injured raptors. Paul is the owner of Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas, one of the largest raptor rehabilitation centers in Arkansas.
Conservation at Home: What You Can Do for the Eastern Bluebird

2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Meet at the Lodge Convention Center

The Hot Springs Village Audubon chapter was founded in 1974 in an effort to monitor and grow a threatened population of eastern bluebirds. What began as 20 bluebird boxes built and placed on a
nearby golf course has grown to over 300 in Garland and Saline counties. Join the Audubon Society’s bluebird project coordinator, Kathy Jurek, to hear of the success of backyard conservation and its
impact on one of Arkansas’s favorite songbirds.

Bluebird Box Building Bonanza!

3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Meet at the lodge back lawn (Rain plan: will be moved inside to Eagle Room)

Bluebird nest boxes placed in backyards, parks, and golf courses across the state have played a large role in the recovery of this once threatened species. Grab a hammer and nails, and help continue the work of the dedicated stewards before us by building a bluebird box for your backyard. This conservation project is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement of Hot Springs free of charge.

Birds of Prey Show

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Lodge Convention Center.

This free program is the cornerstone of the weekend. The Little Rock Zoo staff brings out a full array of birds including hawks, falcons, vultures and a bald eagle.

Live Raptor Meet and Greet

7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Meet at the Lodge Convention Center.

See birds in an informal and up close setting. During this free program, handlers from the Little Rock Zoo bring back several birds including Lynn, the bald eagle.

Golf Course Safari

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. Meet at the Golf Course Pro Shop.

We’ll take golf carts out on the golf course in search of owls and other nocturnal creatures. Must be 18 to drive and there is a limit two persons per cart. Reservations must be made in person at the lodge front desk beginning at noon on January 27. Bundle up and bring a flashlight. Admission is $5.

Night Eyes Owl Prowl

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. Lodge Lobby

Join a park interpreter on this free night hike in search of owls and other nocturnal creatures. Bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes.

January 29

Eagle Watch Tours

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Lodge Lobby

As part of the event weekend, there are four eagle watch tours departing at 8 a.m.,10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. We’ll search for wintering bald eagles, ospreys, loons, herons, grebes, ducks, and more. Reservations can be made beginning noon the day before at the lodge front desk. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, under free for those under 6 of age.

Of note, there is a lodging package available for the nights of January 27-28 for those that want to stay at the state park lodge during this weekend. All campgrounds are also available for visitors except for the DeRoche Ridge Campground. For more details, call 501- 865-5810 or visit degray.com.