Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MDC to host Eagle Days Feb. 6 at Schell-Osage

Schell City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host Eagle Days 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Schell City Community Center and the MDC’s Schell-Osage Conservation Area. Bald eagles, MDC and the Schell-Osage area are intertwined with the restoration of our nation’s symbol as a nesting bird in Missouri.
   Schell-Osage was one of the two areas used as release sites for young bald eagles from 1980 to 1991. Those eagles matured and along with migrant eagles began to establish nests. Today, nests are found throughout Missouri. The bald eagle has been removed from the nation’s endangered species list, though it remains a species of concern in the state. Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield was also a partner in the eagle release program.
   Eagle Days at Schell-Osage will celebrate nesting birds and the migration of several thousand eagles through the state in winter. The eagles follow waterfowl flocks south and also feed on fish where they find open water.
   Dickerson Park Zoo will have live, captive eagles on display with shows on the hour throughout the day. Zoo staff presents an informative program about eagle traits and their conservation. Captive birds on display give visitors a chance for a close up look at a bald eagle and perhaps a golden eagle. The zoo displays birds that have been injured and cannot be returned to the wild.
   Visitors to the event can also tour MDC’s Schell-Osage Conservation Area to see wild eagles. MDC staff will set up spotting scopes in areas where eagles are frequenting.  The conservation area is in Vernon County, northeast of Nevada, Mo.
   The number of wild eagles using an area depends on weather and the availability of food. About 25 eagles were counted by MDC staff at the area in mid-January.
   For more information, call MDC’s El Dorado Springs office, 417-876-5226.
   For information about these and other Eagle Days events throughout Missouri, and for eagle viewing sites throughout winter, visit mdc.mo.gov/events/eagledays.