loess eagle days

A mostly cloudy and chilly 8°C afternoon encouraged on outing to the 44th Annual Eagle Days for a closer look at these impressive raptors.  Hosted at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, a variety of new and familiar activities made for an interesting day in the rural landscape northwest of St Joseph.

The event witnessed a repeat appearance from the ever watchful and somewhat talkative Harpy eagle, a native of the southern Americas, and very much conservation dependent species.  A Golden Eagle joined the conversation after that but appeared pre-occupied with escaping the crying baby in the front row.  The row ended with the continuously piercing gaze from the American Bald Eagle, who lingered afterward the interviews ended for small talk and photos.

Numerous sites established around perimeter of the 16 km Wild Good Auto Tour loop offered young and old the opportunity to get a closer look at the Bald Eagles in their locally native habitat, as well as the chance to ask more questions from volunteers. The experience stood in stark contrast with previous visits, where only one station offered amenities, and a welcome change for all involved.

It had been a hard year though.  A lack of sufficient precipitation and ongoing drought conditions left the Eagle Pool and surrounding associated wetlands mostly dry. Only a portion of the northern tip of the Pelican Pool enabled aid and comfort to the resident avian populations.  Where more than a hundred had stalked these swamplands during prior years, only fifteen numbered the surrounding treetops on this date, with another half-dozen or so perched atop beaver dens.


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