City Cast

What to Know About Eagle Spotting

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on January 20   |   Updated on May 28
A juvenile bald eagle soars at Big Marsh Park

A juvenile bald eagle soars at Big Marsh Park in 2021. (Jose M. Osorio / Tribune)

Tis the season for bald eagle watching: About 3,100 bald eagles come to Illinois each winter, the most in the U.S. outside Alaska. And now is the best time to catch a glimpse of them.

Why do bald eagles come to Illinois?
Migrating from Canada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, the birds enjoy the Prairie State’s warm(er) temperatures and unfrozen parts of rivers in the winter, the Tribune reported.

Where can you see bald eagles?
Along the state’s waterways. Here are just a few opportunities near and far:

Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby has trolley tours in January and February and an eagle watch weekend later this month.

Mississippi River Visitor Center in Rock Island is hosting eagle watches on some Saturdays.

Oakley Lindsay Center
in Quincy has a two-day event next weekend.

Pere Marquette Park Visitor’s Center in Grafton has bald eagle days through March.

Uhh, weren’t bald eagles endangered?
The ban on DDT pesticides and a federal law prohibiting eagle hunting helped get the species off the list. Good news for us and them! 

Hey Chicago

Want to know what's happening in Chicago? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Chicago. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.