DEC. 12, 2011 -- As they migrate south and reclaim their winter nests along the region's great rivers, the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau and Alton area attractions are preparing for the return of the American Bald Eagles.
Just two months ago, the new Audubon Center at Riverlands opened in West Alton, and the facility will host the Alton Eagle Festival on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This kick-off event features trail walks, information about eagle watching hot spots, kids activities and instructions on how to spot an eagle. World Bird Sanctuary will have a live bald eagle on display. At the event, visitors can become "official Alton eagle watchers" and learn how they can be entered to win a Kindle Fire loaded with bird watching apps. The Alton Eagle Festival continues across the river in downtown Alton with the Eagle and Wildlife Art Walk, with ice sculptures and artists displaying their work at various downtown locations.
Alton has launched its own eagle watching application, Alton Eagle Watch. Available for both iPhones and Androids, the free app guides visitors during their eagle watching adventure, providing information on eagle watching hot spots and events, and allowing visitors to share their eagle photos.
As always, the visitors bureau will update its annual Eagle Watcher's Guide with details on where the eagles have recently been sighted. For more information, visit www.visitalton.com.
Eagles begin arriving in late December, said Suzanne Halbrook, public relations director for the visitors bureau. Depending on weather, the eagle population generally peaks in mid to late January.
For a comprehensive list of eagle events, view the Sprout Calendar.
Related: Destination Alton, Ill.