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Eagle Watch 

In the wake of the federal shutdown, the annual event that almost wasn't in 2019

Eagle Watch, the premier event of spring in Central Oregon for the last 24 years, is set to happen Feb. 23 and 24 at the Round Butte Overlook—a little way from Culver on Lake Billy Chinook.

If you've been taking part over the years, you know what fun it is for anyone wanting to know more about raptor resources of Central Oregon, and the importance of eagles in our culture. In January, organizers were concerned they may have to cancel the event, due to the then-ongoing federal government shutdown. Fortunately, the government reopened, allowing federal agencies to continue to participate.

Redmond High School student McCaylie Capps' abstract drawing of an eagle for the 5th Annual Eagle Watch art contest. Organizers will hand out awards in the contest Saturday. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Redmond High School student McCaylie Capps' abstract drawing of an eagle for the 5th Annual Eagle Watch art contest. Organizers will hand out awards in the contest Saturday.

The all-day events on Saturday begin at 10 am‚ but if you want to find a place to park you'd better get there about 9 am. Bring cash or your checkbook for purchasing anything at Eagle Watch.

Starting at 10, lectures will be available in all areas of eagle natural history and research. The staff from the Oregon Observatory will be on hand both days with telescopes for solar viewing. East Cascades Audubon Society will have a tent up both Saturday and Sunday to help identify birds and learn about the opportunities to enjoy birding. Portland General Electric, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and many other state and federal agencies will supply information on various natural history subjects.

At around 11:30 your gastric system may start sending signals—probably because hot dogs are sending aromas of delight. If you pay attention to those signals, you'll be in time to take advantage of free hot dogs and all that goes with them.

In one of the tents, Frank Isaacs, head of the Oregon Eagle Foundation, will be sharing the latest findings on the 10-year study he and his team of volunteers are conducting on the status of the golden eagle in Oregon.

Awards for research and conservation work with raptors are presented during the morning hours, along with silent auctions and raffles for nature goodies. At around 1:30 pm, families will have the opportunity to build bluebird nesting boxes that can be installed at home.

When they're occupied in the spring, you'll have the opportunity to be a Citizen Scientist by taking part in a bluebird bird-banding research project operated by the president of East Cascades Audubon Society, Ken Hashagen.

The one big change for Eagle Watch this year is the lack of guides at the various Lake Billy Chinook overlooks on the way to Eagle Village. The only place you'll find telescopes and guides for eagle watching will be at the park. But not to worry, both bald and golden eagles of all ages come to Eagle Village for the event, and stick around for pictures.

The events for Saturday begin to close down about 4 pm.

On Sunday, things get going at 10 am and run to 3:30 pm. You can look forward to that same free hot dog feed. Right after the feast, everyone will have the opportunity to meet the Eagle Watch mascots, with good old Smokey Bear leading the parade.

From 1 pm to 2 pm, those interested in attracting birds to their property can start to build a bird feeder and learn the correct methods of keeping them filled with the proper food for the wildlife that will use them.

Then—talented artists from Warm Springs, the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers—will entertain participants, leaving people with some knowledge and understanding of what music and rhythm mean to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Eagle Watch comes to an end on Sunday at 3pm with the announcement of the silent auction and raffle winners. New and old Eagle Watch friends can take their time chin-wagging about all the fun they had during the two-day event.

Somewhere in the crowd, Paul Patton—past ranger at Smith Rock State Park and the man who came up with the idea of getting Oregon State Parks to celebrate the unique population of eagles that soar in the skies above Lake Billy Chinook—may be heading for home as well, having enjoyed the sight of all the people who came to Eagle Village to take part in the celebration he started.

Eagle Watch
Sat., Feb. 23, 10am-4pm; Sun. Feb. 24, 10am-3:30pm
Round Butte Overlook Park
SW Riverview Rd., Madras
Visit oregonstateparks.org for more info
Free

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