KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Western Missouri and eastern Kansas are fortunate to have large rivers and open wetlands that attract waterfowl and hold fish, because in winter that attracts migrating bald eagles looking for food.
The Missouri Department of Conservation suggests that visiting a conservation area or waterfront park makes an interesting winter outing that may well provide eagle viewing.
Smithville Lake will have Eagle Days Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8-9. Live captive raptor shows will be presented by Operation Wildlife. On Jan. 8, the live eagle shows will be 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. On Jan. 9, the live eagle shows will be at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:00 p.m.
The shows and other wildlife displays will be at the Paradise Pointe Golf Course complex at 18212 Golf Course Drive in Smithville. At Paradise Pointe, visitors can also learn where eagle viewing stations will be set up outdoors at the lake.
Eagles migrating from northern states travel through the area during winter. Their presence is dictated by weather and food availability. A long period of severe cold can cause them to move farther south. But the Kansas City region’s mixed winter weather often keeps eagles in the area during January and February.
During freeze ups, they will be near open water such as at rivers or where large flocks of geese or ducks moving about on lakes have kept patches from freezing.
Wyandotte County is hosting its Eagle Days on Jan. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the F.L. Schlagle Library and JP Davis Hall at Wyandotte County Lake. It also marks 20 years since the county has hosted the event.
There will be live birds of prey, including a Bald Eagle, take-home crafts for kids, birdwatching on the lake, binocular checkout, activity stations on the trail and tons of photo ops, according to the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library.
Masks will be required indoors for anyone 5 years and older.