The return of the bald eagle has been a remarkable success story. After being pushed towards extinction, the eagle steadily recovered under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. In Kansas, nesting eagles made a return to the state in 1989 at Clinton Reservoir and have been increasing in numbers ever since.
As the winter cold sets in, eagles push south in search of open water. In Kansas, mid-January is typically the ideal time to search for eagles along secluded coves of major reservoirs in the eastern half of the state.
For a good hike with a chance to see bald eagles, we recommend the Eagle Ridge Trail at Milford State Park or the Chaplin Nature Center trails by the Arkansas River. Throughout the month of January there are events throughout the state that celebrate the recovery of this iconic species. Each of the following events offer educational programs and guided viewing tours for the public.
January 7th: The first opportunity for guided eagle viewing is at Tuttle Creek Reservoir with a program and vehicle tour starting at the Manhattan Fire Station (Kimball & Denison Ave) from 9:00 – 12:30.
January 14th: Eagle Days at Milford Lake. The nature center at Milford Lake hosts an annual eagle day event that includes programs and guided bus tours running from 9:00 – 2:00 to view eagles along the lake. Admission to the state park is free for the event and there’s also hot chocolate and popcorn for all!
January 21st: Kaw Valley Eagles day celebrates the natural history and recovery of the bald eagle in Kansas with a family-friendly event at Free State High School in Lawrence. There will be presentations, activities for the kids and viewing expeditions.
January 28th & February 4th: Chaplin Nature Center will offer a short educational program and guided hike along the nature center trails to view eagles. Meet at the visitors center at 10:00 to join the fun.