Eagle tours are set for state parks in January, February
If you want to see a magnificent, majestic bird soaring in the sky, eating and nesting, there are several spots in Oklahoma to watch bald eagles.
Sequoyah State Park has free tours scheduled for Saturday and Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. until noon. The park is on the shores of Fort Gibson Lake in northeastern Oklahoma and is a prime location to spot the area's eagles. Call 1-800-368-1486 for information.
Birders should meet at the Three Forks Nature Center at Sequoyah State Park for an educational presentation about eagles and stick around for a chance to meet the center's resident eagle before venturing out into the park. Watch the eagles soar over the lake as they migrate further south.
Kaw Lake in northern Oklahoma is home to one of the state's largest populations of bald eagles. Featuring eagles that nest and winter there, Kaw Lake was the site of a reintroduction effort between 1984 and 1992 that saw 275 bald eagles released back into the wild around the lake. The Ultimate Eagle Watch is held each third Saturday of every month. For information call 580-762-9494.
The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is in northeastern Oklahoma near the town of Vian. The refuge is near the Robert S. Kerr Reservoir and is a haven for a variety of wintering birds and wildlife with plenty of shoreline, river bottoms and wooded swampland.
Lake Thunderbird State Park is within the bald eagle migration corridor near Norman and hosts roosting eagles from December through February. The annual Eagle Watch is on select Saturdays during peak months, but is limited to 40 guests. For information call 405-321-4633.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is near Sulphur and will host two guided tours Jan. 20 and 27 from 9 a.m. until noon. The tours are free and no reservations are required.
"These are not resident eagles, but migrating birds," said Ron Parker of the recreation area. "This is not a walking tour, so it appeals to all ages. Everyone meets at the center and a ranger gives a talk about eagles and birding and then everyone heads out to the shores of Lake of the Arbuckles, where the eagles have been spotted in recent years. We are hoping for a couple dozen people to take the tours, but it depends on the weather for the most part. This is a really good tour for beginning birders."
For information call 580-622-7234.
For eagle watching in far northern Oklahoma, the Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is the place to go. The refuge will offer a tour Saturday; the tour is free, but advance registration is encouraged because a limit of 20 people can take the tour.
"We have the guided tour in a closed area," said Shane Kasson, refuge manager. "This is a unique opportunity to see bald eagles as they move through Oklahoma."