The best time to spot a bald eagle in the Heartland is right now

Where bald eagles have been spotted in the Heartland

Bald eagle in Pemiscot County
(Source: Jerry and Kim Taylor)

The best time to view a bald eagle in the Heartland is right now!

Winter eagle watching is spectacular.

From Conant, Illinois, to Malden, Missouri, to Land Between the Lakes, the birds can be found perched high in the treetops across the Heartland.

This time of year the birds are looking for a big meal.

According to experts, December through February is peak season to see the birds of prey.

Discover Nature

Thanks to big rivers, many lakes, and a ton of wetlands, Missouri is one of the leading lower 48 states for eagle viewing.

Each Fall, thousands of eagles migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in the Show-Me-State.

Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plenty of sources for food.

More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during the winter.

Where to spot a bald eagle

Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge.

Here is a closer look at some of the best places to see a bald eagle in or near the Heartland.>>

WORD TO THE WISE: Get to one of these locations early in the morning to see the eagles flying and feeding.

Bald eagle tours are offered during this time at the following parks:

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge

Discover nature in Puxico. Here you can see an array of wildlife, including bald eagles, as well as 279 resident and migratory birds. Explore the Swampwalk Nature Trail, Sweet’s Cabin, Stanley Creek, Rockhouse Overlook, Monopoly Overlook, Red Mill Overlook, and along the Mingo River.

Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

Crab Orchard is home to six nesting pairs of resident bald eagles and their offspring. A few nesting sites are visible from public roads throughout the Refuge and eagles are spotted daily. Guided tours visit eagle nests and areas of the Refuge where eagles may be spotted. Reservations are required. Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays through early February.

Land Between the Lakes

Bald eagles and a luxury yacht combine for a unique Heartland Weekend adventure at Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky. Eagle Viewing Cruises are hosted for the public on the CQ Princess, a 96-foot, double-decker luxury yacht. Each cruise includes a hot catered meal and opportunities for great views of bald eagles. Onboard naturalists from the Friends of Land Between the Lakes will help you spot eagles and other wildlife.

Eagle Viewing River Cruises:

  • Jan. 24-25 at Lake Barkley
  • Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Kenlake
  • Feb. 7-9 at Kentucky Dam Village

Each park is offering overnight packages that include tour tickets and lodging.

Kentucky State Parks have been offering eagle tours for more than 40 years.

Have you spotted one? We want to know! Send us your pictures to