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January 3, 2012

Eagle watching kicks off Jan. 13-14 in Prairie du Sac

MADISON - Sauk City and Prairie du Sac on the Wisconsin River will hold the 25th annual Bald Eagle Watching Days on Jan. 13-14 in partnership with event sponsor, the Alliant Energy Foundation. Cassville will hold its 18th annual Bald Eagle Days on Jan. 28-29 and Prairie du Chien will hold Bald Eagle Appreciation Day on Feb. 25.

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 176 eagles on Dec. 18, 2011.

In 2010, DNR biologists documented 1,247 known eagle nest territories. Data from the 2011 breeding season are still being compiled.

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 2007 when the bald eagle was removed from both the federal and state endangered and threatened species lists. Wisconsin's large and successful population played a significant role in that delisting.

The Endangered Resources tax check-off 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 25th Bald Eagle Watching Days will be held Friday evening and all day Saturday (until 4:15 p.m.), Jan. 13 and 14. 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. The show will occur at the River Arts Center at Sauk Prairie High School, 105 Ninth Street. 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.

One of the main events this year will be the release of a rehabilitated eagle by Marge Gibson from The Raptor Education Group, Inc. The release will occur between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. at the VFW Park, off Water Street, and about mile north of the Highway 60 bridge.

Also on Saturday, Wollersheim Winery, the event's Conservation Partner, will offer Eagle White Wine tasting throughout the day. At 3:15 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 website: [exit DNR] .

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 forested eagle roosts during the winter.

Cassville Bald Eagle Days

The 18th Annual Bald Eagle Days Celebration will be held Jan. 28 and 29 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 28 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Cassville High School, 715 E Amelia St.

More information is available at Cassville's website [exit DNR] .

Prairie du Chien Bald Eagle Appreciation Day Saturday, Feb 25

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. 25, 2012. The event includes live bald eagle and raptor 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, and activities for children.

The main event location is the Prairie du Chien Regional Tourism Center/Prairie du Chien Chamber 211 South Main, Prairie du Chien. More information is available on the Prairie du Chien chamber of commerce [exit DNR] website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on bald eagles in Wisconsin contact Sumner Matteson, (608) 266-1571; 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 03, 2012

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