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.
The Eagle Watch tradition continues at Lake Billy Chinook
You have a good chance of spotting bald and golden eagles and other raptors at this year’s 16th Annual Eagle Watch. “We have 10 pairs of bald eagles and 10 pairs of golden eagles year-round in the Lake Billy Chinook area,” says Oregon State Parks’ Paul Patton. “Eagle Watch is a great time to see them in a spectacular setting. And, all events are free!”
That setting is on a rim overlooking the lake behind Round Butte Dam, filled by the flows of the Metolius, Deschutes and Crooked Rivers. Eagle Watch presentations are held at the PGE Round Butte Overlook Park visitor center 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Feb. 26 and 10 a.m.-
3 p.m., Feb. 27. Viewpoint tours are next door in The Cove Palisades State Park.
If you need a primer on eagles, be sure to stop by “Eagles 101.” Sunriver Nature Center staff will share basic eagle facts Saturday 11-11:30 a.m. and Sunday 10-10:30 a.m.
New this year is guided “Walk-about Discovery Tours” designed for kids and families. The walk-about includes:
- A natural art exhibit featuring Nez Perce artist John Finch.
- A birds of prey demonstration by Sunriver Nature Center staff.
- Special presentations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Museum of Warm Springs staff.
- A special eagle viewpoint led by Oregon State Park rangers.
Think you know your raptors? Test your knowledge at a raptor identification contest for all ages. If you have young eagle watchers, a viewing spot will have equipment set up for small sizes. Join birding tours led by the East Cascades Audubon Society both days.
Raven Research West will guide Sunday’s early risers on a Sunrise Eagle Tour in The Cove Palisades State Park. Meet at 5:30 a.m. at the entrance to Overlook Park.
Don’t miss the dramatic Native American cultural program and prize drawing that concludes the event on Sunday.
The Cove Palisades State Park offers year-round camping. Call 1-800-452-5687 for campsite and cabin reservations, or online at www.oregonstateparks.org.