Eagle Watch Weekend (Jan. 27 & 28, 2024)

November 30, 2023

Eagle Watch Weekend will have a few new activities for January 27 and 28, 2024. In addition to “Birds of Prey” Shows, the planning committee is happy to announce that the Village of Utica will be part of the upcoming, family-friendly fun weekend. Thanks to support from LaSalle County Tourism, Heritage Corridor Destinations and Starved Rock Lodge, all events will be free and open to the public. Some events will require advanced registration or a ticket due to space limits.

            New for 2024, there will be three new, up-close “Meet & Greet” sessions which will take place on Sunday (Jan. 28) in the Utica Gym (located within the Village Hall located at 248 West Canal Street). These 45-minute sessions will take place at 10am, 1pm and 3pm. Trained bird handlers from the Illinois Raptor Center will allow participants to take photos and learn about these amazing raptors. This rare opportunity is free, but reservations are required due to capacity limits.

            As in the past, a variety of educational and photographic exhibits will be on display in the Great Hall of Starved Rock Lodge from 9am to 4pm both Saturday and Sunday. The Illinois Raptor Center will present “Birds of Prey” Shows on Saturday at Starved Rock Lodge and the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center at 10am, 1pm and 3pm. Stillman Valley Nature Center will present three similar shows at the IL Waterway Visitor Center at 10am, 1pm and 3pm. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited for all shows. Throughout the weekend, Starved Rock Audubon Society members will have viewing scopes at the IL Waterway Visitor Center and be available to answer all eagle questions.

            Guided hikes will be offered both days at 11am and 2pm departing from in front of the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center. Hikers will learn about American Bald Eagles and why they like to roost along the Illinois River.

            If you want to learn more about the art of Falconry, don’t miss the “Partnership with Birds of Prey” session offered from 1 to 1:45pm on Sunday at the IL Waterway Visitor Center.

            Also on Sunday, January 28th, professional photographers Sandra Rust, Matthew Klein and David Anderson will lead a 45-minutes seminar on nature photography. For the children, a “Bald Eagle Craft & Storytime” will be offered from 10 to 10:45 am on Sunday at Starved Rock Lodge and the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center. An additional session will take place at the IL Waterway on Sunday from 3 to 3:45pm. No pre-registration is needed for the children’s activities.

            An educational program on owls will be presented by Mac Chamberlain at 3pm in the A/V room of the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center. The final “Birds of Prey” Show will take place at 3pm on Sunday at Starved Rock Lodge.

            Shuttle service will be available from Starved Rock Lodge both days from 9am to 4pm. Wristbands (for unlimited rides) will be $5 each. Buy tickets with cash on the trolley or go to the Starved Rock Lodge Activities Department for credit card purchases.

            If you want to know how many eagles are visiting the Starved Rock area this winter, check the stats from the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center! They do an eagle count every Wednesday during winter months. Go to: https://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Illinois-Waterway/Eagle-Watching/

                 Learn more about the guest speakers and activities at: StarvedRockLodge.com/eaglewatchweekend.

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