MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites the public to participate in the 36th anniversary of Bald Eagle Watching Days happening Jan. 14-15 to celebrate the species and its remarkable comeback in Wisconsin. All Bald Eagle Watching Days events are free and open to the public.
Wisconsin’s longest-running eagle-watching event features in-person and virtual activities. Participants can catch a glimpse of eagles over the Wisconsin River at the newly renovated overlook on Water Street in Prairie du Sac. Volunteers will be available at the overlook to answer questions about bald eagles on both days from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., weather permitting.
On Saturday, visitors can enjoy live raptor shows in the River Arts Center of the Sauk Prairie High School featuring educational birds and trainers from the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee, screening of a recently recorded rehabilitated bald eagle release with live expert Q&A session and more family-friendly activities. Full details are available on the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council website.
“These events offer unique opportunities for people to come together to celebrate the success of bald eagle recovery and conservation in Wisconsin,” said Sumner Matteson, DNR Avian Ecologist.
Attendees can also enjoy a self-guided tour on their mobile device of prime eagle viewing areas along the upper and lower portions of the Lower Wisconsin River. Both tours start at the Sauk-Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce in Sauk City. Visit the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council website for instructions.
The public can also attend presentations at the River Arts Center or watch live from the comfort of their home on the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council’s YouTube channel.
For the first time in over 80 years, active bald eagle nests can be found in every county of Wisconsin. Bald Eagle Watching Days celebrates eagles as they gather in winter areas, affording fantastic viewing opportunities as eagles from northern Wisconsin, Canada, northern Michigan and Minnesota move south in search of food. Raptors looking for fish typically congregate along open water areas below dams along the Wisconsin, Mississippi and Fox rivers, where their growing presence has turned the sites into birdwatching destinations and inspired many community events.
Bald Eagle Watching Days is co-sponsored by Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wisconsin DNR and Tripp Museum in Prairie du Sac.
Eagle Watching Tips
The best time to see eagles will be in the early morning (8-10 a.m.) as they depart their nighttime communal roosts to feed along the river and two hours before dusk as they return to their roosts.
When viewing eagles at these events or on your own, biologists advise onlookers not to venture too close as it will cause the eagles to fly off. Watchers are also encouraged to stay in their cars unless they are at a staffed viewing site.