Contact(s): Sumner Matteson, DNR, 608-266-1571; Barb Barzen, Ferry Bluff Eagle Council vice president, 608-370-3123
SAUK PRAIRIE - Bald Eagle Watching Days in Sauk Prairie on Jan. 12-13 will feature close up views of bald eagles in nature and live raptor shows along with new presentations, exhibits and cultural experiences celebrating the nation's symbol and its comeback from the brink of extinction.
There will be no eagle release at Veterans Memorial Park Jan. 13 as originally advertised. The director of Raptor Education Group, Inc., the nonprofit group that had been planning to release rehabilitated eagles, was unable to attend and the birds were released Jan. 7 instead, says Barb Barzen, vice president of the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, a co-host of the event along with DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the Sauk Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tripp Heritage Museum.
"The birds released on Sunday may still be hanging out in the area for people to see along with many other eagles along the Lower Wisconsin River. We expect great viewing opportunities outside and inside during free live raptor shows on Friday night and Saturday."
There is plenty of seating at Sauk Prairie's River Arts Center for the live raptor shows but people wanting to attend will need to pick up free tickets at the auditorium box office.
Additional free guided bus tours to popular eagle viewing sites along the river have been added in place of the eagle release, along with a showing of NATURE: American Eagle, a 2008 documentary that followed a pair of eagles nesting in Decorah, Iowa, and launched the huge following of nest cam viewers at that nest and elsewhere across the country.
Also new will be "An Eagle's View of Winter in Wisconsin," presented by the council's Jeb Barzen. He will describe wintering eagle ecology in the local area, Wisconsin and Midwest, and include plenty of "ask the expert" time.
Scott Mehus from the National Eagle Center will talk about the growing presence of golden eagles in the Midwest during the winter and efforts to recruit more volunteers to help monitor them. Art Shegonee, a Menominee and Potawatomi member and Native American educator and dancer, will share ways the bald eagle is important to Native American culture.
And as always, there will be kids' activities including face painting and button making, concessions, and a raffle. Find an updated schedule on the event website at ferrybluffeaglecouncil.org.