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Eagle Days Returns to Smithville Lake Jan. 6-7
Missouri Ag Connection - 01/02/2018

A mature bald eagle is a big bird, one impressive to view in flight or perched upon a tree limb. The free 23rd Annual Eagle Days at Smithville Lake will offer visitors a chance to view wild eagles and rehabilitated captive raptors Jan. 6-7 at the Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse, 18212 Golf Course Drive, in Little Platte Park at the lake at Smithville.

Weather dictates where eagles and waterfowl use the lake and where people can watch them. Last year, eagles were feeding on fish in the spillway below the lake dam, where the Little Platte River is once again free flowing. During some years, eagles are seen at other lake locations where waterfowl congregate, especially geese. A bitter cold freeze up of the lake can send eagles and waterfowl south, but in most years, both are seen by visitors.

Eagle Days is hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Clay County Parks and Recreation, and private conservation groups. Staff from host agencies will scout the lake ahead of the event and set up spotting scopes at locations where eagles are feeding or roosting. Outdoor viewing locations will be announced at the clubhouse.

The free event will also include wildlife watching indoors and close up at the Paradise Pointe Clubhouse. Operation Wildlife will display raptors, a show that often includes eagles. Friends of the Lakeside Nature Center will display some rehabilitated raptors, such as small owls. The Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary of Liberty, Wings of Love, and Clay County Parks will also present nature displays.

Outdoor eagle viewing and indoor activities at the clubhouse will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 6, and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 7.

Attendees are encouraged to bring cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, and warm clothes. Refreshments will be on sale at the clubhouse. For information about Smithville Lake Eagle Days, call 816-532-0174.

For information about viewing bald eagles at other locations and at MDC events, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZJA.

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