Eagles Soar in LeClaire, IA, During City’s Inaugural Eagle Festival



Free, Educational Event Offers Glimpse of Bald Eagles in Their Natural Habitat

LECLAIRE, Iowa, Jan. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The City of LeClaire, Iowa, is thrilled to announce its inaugural Eagle Festival sponsored by the Riverboat Twilight on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21-22, 2023. This free, educational event invites guests to witness majestic bald eagles in their natural habitat as they soar high above the Mississippi River.

This free event offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see our incredible national symbol in its natural habitat.

“The LeClaire Eagle Festival is a celebration of the incredible, natural beauty of our river town as well as the opportunity to learn about these amazing birds,” said LeClaire Tourism Manager Cindy Bruhn. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both nature enthusiasts and those who have never seen these incredible animals in the wild, as well as the scenic vistas they call home.”

Bald eagles are typically found in LeClaire from December to March. The Eagle Festival will provide visitors with an unparalleled glimpse of how these birds of prey live in the wild while providing an up-close view of the mighty Mississippi River. The two-day eagle extravaganza begins Saturday, Jan. 21, as Historic Cody Road hosts ice sculptor Rob Storm, who will create breathtaking works of art from 1-4 p.m. for display at local businesses. On Sunday, Jan. 22, the Celebration Center located at 229 N. Cody Road in LeClaire will host multiple eagle presentations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m along with a hot cocoa bar sponsored by Blackhawk Bank & Trust, and there will be more ice sculpting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other events on Sunday include:

  • 11 a.m. — Internationally acclaimed author and storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will present a story about bald eagles, bringing along a spotting scope and books for sale.
  • Noon and 2 p.m. — St. Louis-based World Bird Sanctuary will host two presentations with live eagles. The World Bird Sanctuary has treated more than 21,000 injured birds and has helped organize conservation efforts on four continents.
  • 1 p.m. — Photographer Ty Smedes will give a lecture that offers an often-unseen look at the lives of Iowa’s bald eagle population, from fishing to building nests and much more. Find out how researchers track eagles’ movements and where the eagles come from. Second editions of Smedes’ book, “The Return of Iowa’s Bald Eagles,” will be available for sale and can be signed by the author.
  • 3 p.m. — Representatives from Living Lands & Waters will talk about the importance of the protection and preservation of the environment along the Mississippi River and how humans can help create a more hospitable habitat for bald eagles and other migratory birds.
  • The LeClaire Community Library and LeClaire Parks & Recreation also will be on hand with organized activities for children.

Finally, a spotting scope will be available at the Celebration Center rooftop patio, allowing an up-close look at soaring eagles without disturbing them. Local businesses along Historic Cody Road will also host related events, activities, and displays.

“The thriving bald eagle population in LeClaire is a miracle considering these animals were once on the brink of extinction. To see the number of eagles in the lower 48 explode over the last couple of decades speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication of conservation groups across the nation,” Ty Smedes explained. “I’m honored to be involved in this program and further educate the public about bald eagles, how we can take care of their habitat, and how conservation impacts the natural world.”

The Eagle Festival is supported by a grant from Travel Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The city is also collaborating with groups and topical experts such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chad Pregracke of Living Lands and Waters, and Celebration Center owners Ryan and Garrett Burchett. The Eagle Festival is sponsored by the Riverboat Twilight along with the Holiday Inn Express, Bobby Ray Bunch – Ruhl & Ruhl, Mississippi River Distilling Co. Celebration Center, Ty Smedes Nature Photography, Fox Tales International, Bela, Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream, the LeClaire Chamber of Commerce, First Central State Bank, Antique Archaeology, Living Lands & Waters, Wide River Winery, and Blackhawk Bank & Trust.

For more information, go to www.visitleclaire.com/events/leclaire-eagle-festival/ or contact:

CINDY BRUHN LeClaire Tourism Manager [email protected] or call 563-650-7963

BRIDGET NORMANMedia & Public Relations Director — McDaniels Marketing 11 Olt Ave., Pekin, IL 61554 309-346-4230 • mcdanielsmarketing.com[email protected]

Every winter, majestic bald eagles make LeClaire their winter home, soaring through the skies high above the Mississippi River. Catch a glimpse of these magnificent birds of prey during the inaugural LeClaire Eagle Festival.

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SOURCE Visit LeClaire, Iowa