January 18, 2013
Contact: Nancy Lee Gomer, Marketing Coordinator, 636.949.7535 or 636.795.1137

St. Charles County — Join the St. Charles County Parks Department for the annual Bald Eagle Winter Watch from 8 a.m. – noon, Saturday, Feb. 16, at Hideaway Harbor Park (1550 Hideaway Harbor Dr., off Portage Road) in Portage des Sioux, and learn why these majestic birds continue to return every winter.  To celebrate the arrival of our national icon to the area, the parks department is offering several educational hands-on birding activities for the public to participate in.  Through spotting scopes and binoculars, spectators will have a chance to see bald eagles nesting along the mighty Mississippi River or possibly witness spectacular views of these majestic birds in flight as they feed off the open river waters.  Guests can also get creative and build a life-size eagle's nest with the assistance of Park Rangers.  A fire ring and hot cocoa will be offered to combat the winter chill.

During this free program, park staff will be available to answer questions about the eagle's feeding habits, their migration patterns, the structure of their nest, as well as explain the rich history of Hideaway Harbor Park and additional birds that live in the 49-acre park.  Guests will also have the opportunity to walk to the outskirts of this riverside park that mirrors the Alton bluffs to get the best views of these majestic birds. 

Each year, more than 2,000 bald eagles have been reported to have migrated to Missouri during the winter season.  Eagle watching is usually best during the morning hours when the majestic birds are most active fishing and are frequently seen perching in trees along the river.

To get to Hideaway Harbor Park from St. Charles, take Highway 94 North from Highway 370 until reaching Grafton Ferry Road (approximately eight miles).  Turn left on Grafton Ferry Road and turn right on Portage Road until you reach Sioux Drive.  Turn left on Sioux Drive into the park.