Birdwatcher Story Starters

BALD EAGLE WATCHING 

When winter freezes the northern lakes and rivers, bald eagles frequent eastern Kansas' reservoirs and wide rivers. They often can be found at open-water stretches below dams and lochs in their search for fish. Some great places for eagle-watching:

  • Lawrence's riverfront area below the Bowersock Dam is often the region's only open water in the heart of winter. It frequently attracts as many as 40 bald eagles, hungrily watching for fish passing over the dam. There are usually a half dozen or more bald eagles along this stretch of river during the winter.
  • At Clinton Lake, visit the U.S. Corps of Engineers Visitors Center for the latest information on sightings.
  • At Hillsdale Lake, take the 1.5-mile Hidden Spring Nature Trail. Eagles can often be seen wintering at the bridge over Little Bull Creek.
  • In winter, eagles perch in the tall trees at the water's edge at Perry State Park.
  • At Cheney State Park, west of Wichita, bird watchers often are able to see wintering eagles in the double digits. On one especially busy day last winter, more than 300 were counted!

PLAYING IN KANSAS

Two internationally significant wetlands, Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira, are located in central Kansas in the heart of the Central Flyway. Millions of waterfowl, shorebirds, and cranes (usually including a few endangered whooping cranes) migrate through Kansas every year in the spring and fall. Kansas is also home to both greater and lesser prairie chickens. Bird watching is a family-friendly activity accessible to nearly everyone. Whether you are a serious  birder with expensive scopes and cameras, or someone who simply wants to relax outdoors and enjoy some natural wildlife, Kansas has numerous municipal parks, state parks, state wildlife areas, as well as federal wildlife areas and refuges to accommodate every level of expertise.