The majestic bald eagles that summer in Canada like to winter in
slightly warmer climes-the still-chilly area of the Mississippi
River that cuts through the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.
Some 2,500 eagles spend the winter in the Quad Cities area,
lured there by the all-you-can-eat buffet of stunned fish around
the lock and dams and the perching and nesting possibilities
provided by the surrounding forests.
The best eagle viewing spots in the Quad Cities of Davenport and
Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill., are at Sunset
Park in Rock Island and Credit Island in Davenport. Bring
binoculars, dress warmly and teach kids not to frighten the birds
into flying away, unnecessarily expending energy they need to
conserve in order to maintain their body heat.
The eagle population-and the number visiting the Quad Cities-has
been growing; the bird was removed from the endangered list in
The Quad Cities will host its 25th annual Bald Eagle Days Jan.
6-8 at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island. The event
includes live eagle programs and birds of prey demonstrations. Then
hop on a shuttle bus to Sunset Marina, where the Quad City Audubon
Society will have spotting scopes set up to help you and your kids
get an upclose look at the eagles. (Hours: 4-8 p.m. Friday; 10
a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $5, $1
If you can't make the big weekend event, visit any weekend Jan.
14-Feb. 19. The Mississippi River Visitor Center on Arsenal Island,
between Davenport and Rock Island, offers free eagle watches and
Clock Tower tours on those Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 and 11
a.m. and 1 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by
calling (309) 794-5338.
When you need to warm up, head to the John Deere Pavilion in
Moline or one of the Quad Cities' impressive museums, including the
Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science and the Figge Art
Museum. All are oversized attractions for such small towns.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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