The 22nd annual Eagle Watch celebration is set for Feb. 25-26 at Round Butte Overlook Park. The celebration honors eagles and other raptors that live in the Lake Billy Chinook area and activities explore the natural and cultural significance of the birds to tribal culture and traditions.
The two-day celebration hosted by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), Portland General Electric (PGE), Crooked River Grasslands, and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) features resident bald eagles and golden eagles. The event runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. Festivities will be in “Eagle Village” at Round Butte Overlook Park’s visitor center, 10 miles west of Madras.
Event attendees can meet Aquila, a rehabilitated golden eagle, as well as a great horned owl that lives at the Sunriver Nature Center. Saturday at noon, children can meet JR Beaver, Smokey Bear and Larry the Lightbulb. Children are also invited to take part in our eagle race (on Saturday) or make a bird feeder (on Sunday). Madras Garden Center will show how to create a backyard refuge to enjoy birdwatching year-round at your own home.
Wildlife biologists have recorded eleven bald eagle pairs and nine golden eagle pairs living in the area year-round, and migrant bald eagles join the resident birds from January through March. For those who want more, on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. attendees can go to Smith Rock State Park for an hour-long guided tour with Oregon Eagle Foundation volunteer David Vick.
The Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers will give a special presentation of tribal drumming and dancing sponsored by Warm Springs Power and Water Enterprises at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission and parking at PGE’s Round Butte Overlook Park are free. Attendees can buy souvenirs and take part in a daily silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Oregon Eagle Foundation. Indian Fry bread proceeds will support sending local kids to the rodeo, and donations for lunch support Culver Middle School’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program. Only cash and checks will be accepted; no ATM is on site.
For information, call Oregon State Parks Information at 800-551-6949 or The Cove Palisades State Park at 541-546-3412 or visit oregonstateparks.org. Information will also be posted on the Cove Palisades blog, The Cove Rattler, at covepalisades.wordpress.com and on Facebook.
We’re headed outside on New Year’s Day for First Day Hikes in 21 Oregon State Parks. Park rangers or volunteers will lead most of the hikes. Day-use parking fees are waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.
Plan for any type of weather condition and remember to bring your binoculars for wildlife viewing.
Participating parks and meeting areas:
- L.L. “Stub” Stewart Memorial State Park, 10 a.m. at the Hilltop Day-use Area.
- Milo McIver State Park, 10 a.m. at the Riverbend lower boat launch parking lot.
- Tryon Creek State Natural Area, 9 a.m. at the Nature Center.
- Guy Talbot State Park, 1 p.m. at the parking lot near the information kiosk.
- Champoeg State Heritage Area, 1 p.m. at the Visitor Center.
- Elijah Bristow State Park, noon horse ride at the equestrian parking area. Bring your own horse.
- North Santiam State Park, 11:30 a.m. at the picnic shelter.
- Silver Falls State Park, 10 a.m. at the South Falls Lodge porch.
- Collier Memorial State Park, 10 a.m. at the Logging Museum Cookhouse.
- TouVelle State Park, 11 a.m. at picnic shelter A near the park entrance.
- Cape Lookout State Park, noon at the Cape Lookout Trail parking lot.
- D River State Recreation Area, 10 a.m. at the stairway
- Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center, 1 p.m. at the center.
- Fort Stevens State Park, 10 a.m. at the Area C parking lot.
- Harris Beach State Park, 9 a.m. at the day-use parking lot.
- Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, 10 a.m. at Siuslaw North Jetty last parking lot near the Coast Guard tower.
- Oswald West State Park, 9 a.m. at the main park lot, Short Sands Beach Trailhead.
- Port Orford Heads State Park, 10 a.m. at the restored lifeboat pavilion.
- South Beach State Park, 10 a.m. at the South Jetty Trailhead.
- Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, 10 a.m. at the day-use parking are near the Lake Marie trail sign.
- Cottonwood Canyon State Park, 11 a.m. at the day-use area
- Emigrant Springs State Heritage Park, 11 a.m. snowshoe hike at the Oregon Trail kiosk west of the park entrance.
- Smith Rock State Park, 10 a.m. at the bivouac campground. Register by calling 541-548-7501 ext. 1 and leave a message with your name, phone number and the number of people in your group.
If you’re headed to the Oregon coast next week, watch for migrating whales with trained volunteers during the annual winter Whale Watching Week from Dec. 27-31. Volunteers with the Whale Watching Spoken Here program will be stationed at 24 sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on those days to help people spot gray whales that are heading south to Mexico.
“We’ve already seen the first migrating gray whales in the past few days and we expect another excellent winter whale watching week. Last winter our volunteers helped people see more than 1,600 gray whales plus a pod of orcas and some humpback whales spotted on the central coast. You never know what you’re going to see while you’re whale watching, but that’s half the fun.” Ranger Luke Parsons, Whale Watching Center
Volunteers will also share information about whale migration and feeding habits. The winter migration typically lasts until mid-January. A map of the watch sites is available at whalespoken.org.
Camping, including yurts and cabins, is available at state parks along the coast. Go to oregonstateparks.org to check availability and make a reservation.
OPRD reminds visitors to check www.oregonstateparks.org and www.tripcheck.com for weather-related alerts and closures before heading to the coast. Be aware of winter storms and high waves—respect closures, stay off the sand and watch storms from an elevated site.