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January 4, 2011

Eagle watching kicks off Jan. 14-15 in Prairie du Sac

MADISON - Sauk City and Prairie du Sac on the Wisconsin River will hold the 24th annual Bald Eagle Watching Days on Jan. 14-15, 2011, in partnership with event sponsor, the Alliant Energy Foundation. Cassville will hold its 17th annual Bald Eagle Days on Jan. 30-31 and Prairie du Chien will hold Bald Eagle Appreciation Day on Feb. 26.

Each winter, hundreds of bald eagles congregate along areas of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers where they feed on fish in the open water below dams. Wildlife officials say this is the largest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the lower 48 states, offering some of the best eagle viewing in the nation.

Volunteer spotters from the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council (exit DNR) counted 115 eagles on Dec. 5, 2010.

Wisconsin currently has approximately 1,145 territorial pairs of eagles, according to surveys conducted by DNR wildlife biologists.

In 1971 Wisconsin banned the use of DDT after scientists determined eagle numbers were dropping as the birds, impacted by DDT, failed to reproduce because their eggshells were weak. The bald eagle was listed as both a state and federally endangered species.

A major milestone was reached in August 2007 when the bald eagles were removed from the Federal Endangered Species Act's endangered and threatened species list. Wisconsin's large and successful population played a significant role in that federal delisting.

The Endangered Resources tax check-off option found on Wisconsin state tax returns gives taxpayers the option of donating a portion of any tax refund toward the protection and management of endangered resources in Wisconsin.

Many of the best eagle viewing destinations are featured in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail guides available from the Department of Natural Resources.

Bald Eagle Watching Days at Sauk City-Prairie du Sac

The 24th Bald Eagle Watching Days will be held Friday evening and Saturday, Jan. 14 and 15. Events begin at 7 p.m. Friday with a live birds of prey show featuring hawks, eagles, owls and falcons put on by The Raptor Center from the University of Minnesota. Information is also available by calling 1-800-683-2453.

The raptor show will be repeated at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Wollersheim Winery, the event's Conservation Partner, will offer Eagle White Wine tasting throughout the day. And, at 12:30 p.m., Wildlife humorist David Stokes will do a show titled "Fun Animal Adaptations." DNR staff will run kids activities and give talks on eagles in Wisconsin and eagle conservation efforts. There will be eagle tours throughout the day led by Ferry Bluff Eagle Council members and DNR staff. A complete schedule of activities (exit DNR) can be found on the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council Web site.

Open water below the dam on the Wisconsin River at Sauk City and Prairie du Sac is a customary winter gathering place for bald eagles. The Ferry Bluff Eagle Council maintains an overlook for viewing eagles, preserves habitat for eagles, conducts eagle programs, educates people on how to watch eagles yet maintain the bird's safety, creates educational material for schools and works with landowners to manage habitat. Council members also monitor night time eagle roosts during the winter.

Cassville Bald Eagle Days

The 17th Annual Bald Eagle Days Celebration will be held Jan. 30 and 31 in Cassville on the Mississippi River in Grant County. Every year hundreds of eagles spend the winter in the Cassville area where the birds can be seen along the village's waterfront. Each day, from 8 a.m. to noon, knowledgeable volunteers from the Cassville area will assist birders in locating eagles at the Wildlife Observation Deck at Cassville's Riverside Park. Education programs will be held Saturday, January 31 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Cassville High School, 715 E Amelia St.

More information is available at Cassville's Bald Eagle Days [exit DNR].

Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Day Saturday, Feb 26

The City of Prairie du Chien will hold its annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. The event includes live bald eagle programs, various birding and nature exhibits and displays, birding experts on hand, outdoor viewing of bald eagles through spotting scopes, life-size bald eagle nest, activities for children.

The main event location is the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center/AmericInn Lodge & Suites, 211 South Main. More information is available on the Prairie du Chien chamber of commerce website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on bald eagles in Wisconsin contact Rich Staffen - (608) 266-4340; on Sauk-Prairie Eagle Watching Days - 1-800-683-2453; on Cassville Bald Eagle Days - (608) 725-5855; on Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Day - Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce 800-732-1673

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 04, 2011

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