(Photo above: OPRD ranger assists with bird feeder | Photo Courtesy of OPRD)
The 23rd annual Eagle Watch celebration will return February 24-25 at Round Butte Overlook Park. The event will feature activities that explore the natural and cultural significance of the eagles and other raptors that inhabit the Lake Billy Chinook area. The free two-day celebration runs 10am to 4pm Saturday, February 24 and 10am to 3:30pm Sunday, February 25.
“Eagle Watch is a perfect event for the entire family to learn about birds of prey” said event organizer and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Park Ranger Erin Bennet. “Birding is a great hobby that anyone at any age can enjoy. All you need is curiosity.”
Eagle Watch is coordinated by the OPRD in conjunction with Portland General Electric (PGE), Crooked River Grassland and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS).
Festivities will be held in Eagle Village at the Round Butte Overlook Park’s visitor center, ten miles west of Madras. On Saturday, visitors can meet OPRD and PGE mascots, build a bluebird house and view wild eagles. Sunday’s activities include bird feeder building, wild eagle watching and a special tribal drumming and dancing presentation by the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers. A free hot dog lunch will be served both days, with donations supporting the Madras High School JROTC program.
Saturday’s highlight will be the final appearance of Aquila, a rehabilitated thirty-year-old golden eagle that has been delighting Eagle Watch visitors since 2010. After this year, she will assume a comfortable life in retirement from public events. Visitors can meet Aquila during Saturday’s lunch.
Round Butte Overlook Park is home to an estimated 11 pairs of bald eagles, and nine pairs of golden eagles. With migratory eagles joining the resident population in late winter, the area is one of the largest gathering spots for eagles in Oregon.
Admission and parking at Round Butte Overlook Park is free. Attendees can purchase souvenirs and participate in a daily silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Oregon Eagle Foundation. Indian Fry bread proceeds will support sending local kids to the rodeo.