Where to see bald eagles in Kansas – 2019

Where to see bald eagles in Kansas – 2019


Bald eagle pair in Kansas. Photo by Bo Rader.

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 5th: 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 23rd: Kaw Valley Eagles day celebrates the natural history and recovery of the bald eagle in Kansas with a family-friendly event at Billy Mills Middle School in Lawrence from 8:30 – 4:00. There will be presentations, activities for the kids and viewing expeditions.

January 26th: 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 – 4:00 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 26th: Chaplin Nature Center will offer a short educational program and guided hike along the nature center trails to view eagles along the Arkansas River.  Meet at the visitors center at 10:00 to join the fun.

Birds and butterflies at Chaplin Nature Center on 9/26

Back in high school biology, each fall, part of our homework was to tag monarch butterflies. It involves capturing the little orange and black buggers and putting a small, special tagged sticker on them and then releasing them back into the world.

Photo by USFWS Midwest

Why do this? Well, I have to say that I never forgot that biology class and running around Sunset Park with a butterfly net. But on a more practical and less specific level, it allows biologists (real ones, not high schoolers) to see when and where a butterfly was first captured and tagged and track it to where it was recovered to look at migration patterns, effects of weather, life span, etc. (I suppose at the other end of the migration path are people looking for dead butterflies with stickers on them, which seems less fun.) You can find out about the project at Monarch Watch.

And why do I ramble on about this? Because the monarch butterflies have arrived in Kansas, and Chaplin Nature Center will be running a free event this Saturday 9/26 from 10am to 3pm where you can help capture and tag monarchs as well as learn more about their migration through the Sunflower State.

There will also be members of the Wichita Audubon Society leading free nature hikes throughout the day.

If you go:
Chaplin Nature Center
27814 27th Dr, Arkansas City, KS 67005

2 miles south of Geuda Springs, then 2.6 miles east on 272nd Rd, or 3 miles west of Arkansas City on Hwy 166, then north 2 1/4 miles on 31st Rd.

Trails are open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week

The Visitor’s Center is open on Saturdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. year round. It is closed Mondays and holidays.

September 1 – November 15, Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.