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DAY TRIP – Bald eagles: A bird you can set your watch by

It’s that time of the year, when the snow flies – and so do the eagles

“Come fly with me … ”

Watching the bald eagles in graceful flight above the Mississippi River is like getting an invitation to join them in viewing the world from a different angle.

Unfortunately, we can’t take to the skies on our own like our national bird, but we can have the fun of trying to spot them because they’re the stars of Bald Eagle Days and we’re the paparazzi.

The annual event runs from Jan. 5-7 at the QCCA Expo Center and features programs with live eagles and other birds of prey. Head to the spotting scopes provided by the Quad City Audubon Society at Sunset Marina, at 10 31st Ave. If you need a ride, you can get there on the free shuttle bus at the Expo Center.

Eagles may be the star of the show, but there’s a special guest star, too: Bubba, an 8-foot alligator will make an appearance. More than 100 display booths also will be on the site, as well as a 20-foot climbing tower. That should keep everyone busy.

What: Bald Eagle Days

Where: QCCA Expo Center, 2621 Fourth Ave., Rock Island

When: 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 5 – Kids night; ages 15 and under get in free with paid adult admission; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 6; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 7.

Admission: $6 for adults, $1 for ages 6 to 15, and free for ages 5 and under.

Parking: Free parking available, and free shuttles from the Rock Island Parking Ramp.

Mileage from Dixon: 69 miles

Wheelchair accessible: yes

More information: Go to for more info, and to buy tickets.


If you miss Bald Eagles Days, there’s plenty of other opportunities to feast your eyes on the grand bird.

• The Bald Eagle Watch in Clinton, Iowa, and Fulton will feature free indoor exhibits from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 6 at Clinton Community College, 100 Lincoln Blvd., and live birds of prey at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. A free shuttle bus will take you to outdoor viewing at Lock & Dam 13, 4999 Lock Road in Fulton, which will be open for the eagle watch from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Information: Call the Thomson Rangers at 815-259-3628.

• The Bald Eagle Photo Presentation at 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at the LeClaire Civic Center, 127 S. Cody Road, LeClaire, Iowa, is another eagle-centered event. Wildlife photographer Burt Gearhart will give a slide presentation about the everyday lives of bald eagles. This event is free. Be sure to stop at Lock & Dam 14 (4 miles down river) to try to spot birds on the wing or in the trees. If you’re hungry, try Taste of LeClaire from 1 to 4 p.m. Free food and drink samples will be available from a variety of shops, and select bars and restaurants plan specials. Go to for information.

• Another Iowa city will host an eagle watch Jan. 20, where people can watch eagles during the free Dubuque Bald Eagle Watch from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Grand River Center, 500 Bell St. Live birds of prey will be featured, and there will be children’s activities, vendors and educational displays. A free shuttle service will take visitors to outdoor viewing from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Lock & Dam 11 off Kerper Boulevard. Visit for details.

Click here for a list of other eagle watches.

Picture this ... And for those eagle-eyed bird-watchers who are out and about and grab a photo of one of the noble creatures in the Sauk Valley, you can share it with our readers. Send them to Mary Near, community editor, at for the SVM Weekend Scrapbook page.

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