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Take a gander: Bald Eagle Days returns this weekend to QC

The weekend-long event is the perfect place for bird and wildlife enthusiasts to celebrate the annual eagle migration to the Quad Cities.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Many will be flocking to the QCCA Expo Center this weekend, and only some of them will be birds. The annual Quad Cities Bald Eagle Days Celebration is back!

Each winter season, bald eagles gather in the Quad Cities to find food on the waters of the Mississippi River. The weekend-long event, hosted by the Quad City Conversation Alliance, is the perfect place for bird and wildlife enthusiasts to celebrate the eagle migration.

"Bald Eagle Days is all about education and entertainment for kids and adults, through interaction with live animals and seminars," QCCA Show Director Robert Junker said. 

The event showcases a variety of exhibitors, vendors, educational displays and even live eagle shows presented by the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis.

"They have four different types of eagles, which apparently is very rare, in their sanctuary," Junker said. 

Other live animals include snakes, bats, tortoises, wolves and porcupines.

The annual event has been hosted in the Quad Cities since 1985 but was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Junker said crowds are a little bit smaller this year because tourist groups aren't visiting on bus rides from Peoria and Springfield. However, he added that he's just happy to have the event at all and be able to support a good cause. 

"That's what the Quad City Expo Center is all about: doing events to bring money to conversation projects within a 90-mile radius," Junker said. "We live by how many branches of water? We have the Rock, the Mississippi, we just live by the water. So it's very important to us as Quad Citians to make sure we're maintaining the waterways, make sure we're educating our kids for the year to come, and continuing that education so people will respect the area that we live in."

Eagle Days Schedule:

  • Friday: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other live animals include snakes, bats, tortoises, wolves and porcupines.

Admission is free for those under 6-years-old, $1 for children ages 6-15 and $6 for adults. Kids 6-15 get in free on Friday with a paid adult.

Tickets to the event come with the opportunity to join the Quad City Audubon Society for a free guided bus tour of the Quad Cities for outdoor eagle viewing.

Shows run every 30 minutes. Those include "Birds of Prey," "Big Run Wolf Ranch," "Cold Blooded Parties" and "Incredible Bats."

As of Wednesday, Jan. 5, there were 52 eagles at Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island.

Find tickets for Bald Eagle Days here.