This weekend is the first organized opportunity for Missourians to get a close look at the national bird.       The conservation department sets up about a half-dozen Eagle Days each year. The first  Eagle Days of the winter will be at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge at Mound City .in the northwest Missouri flood plain Saturday and Sunday.  .

Bald Eagles migrate south as lakes and streams freeze over to the north because they need open water for the fish they snag and eat or for water birds that die and become part of their diet.

Department ornithologist Brad Jacobs says it’s a unique experience.  He calls it “a spectacular wildlife event.”      

The observation platform at Squaw Creek is open from 9-4 on Saturday and Sunday.  Jacobs says watchers will see thousands of different kinds of birds and probably some eagles, maybe hundreds of them. He suggests watchers bring binoculars and dress in layers.  He says watching eagles in December next to a big body of water can be pretty cold.

Here’s a link for more information about this winter’s six Eagle Days:

 Hear interview with Brad Jacobs 15:37 mp3