ShortTrips: Eagle Days at Squaw Creek

For Midtowners and others who might want to pause from urban bliss to ogle eagles, this weekend is a good time.

The annual Eagle Days events run from Friday through Sunday at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

The formal Friday events are reserved for school groups that made plans in advance, but on Saturday and Sunday there are there are activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those include a driving tour of the refuge wetlands, where spotting scopes will be out in some places to better see the eagles and flocks of migrating birds like ducks and snow geese.

Programs with live, captive eagles begin on Saturday each hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Missouri Department of Conservation reports.

Up to 300 bald eagles are usually at Squaw Creek, where they follow the flocks of birds and feed on those that die during migration. The eagles rebounded in the state following the banning of the pesticide DDT in 1972, and thousands of them now overwinter in Missouri each year.

Bald eagles often scavenge and eat things like road kill, one reason that Benjamin Franklin thought them unfit to be the national bird. He preferred the wild turkey, a bird he said had better character.

But even a lazy bald eagle perched in a tree watching snow geese projects majesty the noble turkey lacks.

Not to mention bald eagles can reach speeds of more than 100 miles an hour when they dive and they have razor-sharp talons that are two inches long.

The refuge is five miles south of Mound City, Mo., and 30 miles north of St. Joseph, just off Interstate 29. Take exit 79 and drive 3 miles west on highway 159.

Our ShortTrips series features gas-saving local trips from Midtown to nearby locations.


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