Kansas City, Mo. – Large crowds turned up this past weekend for the 27th annual Eagle Days at Smithville Lake, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Corps of Engineers said 1,285 visitors attended the indoor presentations.

The event was hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Clay County Parks and Recreation Department, and the MDC.

Nature exhibits were presented by Clay County Parks, Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, and Wings of Love.

An eagle viewing area was set up at the Highway W boat ramp. MDC conservation agents and Clay County parks staff helped visitors use spotting scopes.

Eagles were spotted north of the boat ramp, sometimes perched in shoreline trees, at other times soaring over the lake. Smithville Lake was mostly iced over but with some open water.

MDC said winter is a good time to watch for bald eagles near lakes, wetlands, and rivers. Large numbers of bald eagles migrate through western Missouri during winter.