Nearly 300 people braved the cold and ice Feb. 1 for the 4th Annual Kaskaskia Eagle Fest at the Kaskaskia Lock & Dam in Modoc, Ill.
“Despite the weather we had a lot of enthusiastic visitors who were able to come out and make the Kaskaskia Eagle Fest a success,” Stephanie Vallett, park ranger with the St. Louis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
Visitors had the opportunity to have a close-up encounter with Patriot, a rehabilitated bald eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Mo. The lone survivor after her family’s nest fell into floodwaters, Patriot sustained lung damage that leaves her unable to survive in the wild.
Bald eagles are commonly seen in the Midwest along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers during the winter months as they migrate to the south in search of open water.
On any given day during the winter, between 10 to nearly 40 eagles can be seen nesting, feeding or playing near the Kaskaskia Lock & Dam.
“The turbulence that is created below the dam provides open water and plenty of fish for the eagles,” Vallett said.
Visitors also had the opportunity to see eagles in their natural habitat atop the Kaskaskia Lock & Dam, view them through spotting scopes while on guided interpretative walks around the area, and learn more about eagles from presentations given by the World Bird Sanctuary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The Kaskaskia Eagle Fest is just one of many eagle events throughout the St. Louis District this season. For more information about upcoming programs visit: http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/missions/recreation/eaglewatching.aspx