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Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park

Witness majestic eagles soaring high in the sky in an unforgettable Illinois winter experience.
Bald Eagle in Flight

Did you know Illinois ranks second, just behind Alaska, for viewing bald eagles in the winter months? Join the Eagles and Flock to the Rock on January 28th for Eagle Watch Weekend! Eagle watching at the park is stunning in itself, and is one of the most relaxing activities at the park. This is one of the most special weekends at Starved Rock State Park, as there is plenty to see and do! Bundle up and brace yourself for an unforgettable winter experience as you witness the majestic eagles soaring high in the sky, hunting for their prey and nesting in their natural habitat.

Fun fact: Just over 10 days ago while hiking at the park, the Starved Rock Hikers team discovered two bald eagles perched upon branches near Eagle Cliff Overlook, and was lucky enough to take in their beauty for nearly an hour before continuing their hike.

Starved Rock State Park will be offering 3 free programs to visitors on January 28th;

Starved Rock Saplings is a program offered on Jan. 28th for children ages 3-10, which includes educational stories, crafts, and activities. The program will start at 9:30 am, last approximately an hour long, and will meet at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center. Registration is required, so if planning on attending, please email in advance.

Bald Eagle near Eagle Cliff Overlook at Starved Rock State Park

Guided Eagle Viewing Hikes lead hikers to either the top of Starved Rock or to the sea wall along the Illinois River. You will be hiking with a park naturalist, who knows the best locations to spot the bald eagles and will also provide lots of information along the hike. You will also have the opportunity to use binoculars for free (on loan) with a driver’s license. The hike will leave from the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center at 10 am and again at 1 pm. No registration is required.

At 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, a Live Birds of Prey Show will occur in the Visitor Center. After you take your guided eagle viewing hike out in the cold, come on in for a free show. Not only will you warm up during the show, but you are also sure to leave this show more informed on wildlife at the park, as well as entertained. Seating will be first come, first serve for the show.

As mentioned, all three of these awesome activities are free, but donations are always welcome and encouraged to the Starved Rock Foundation. The Starved Rock Foundation provides funding for programs, supplies, presenters, and more at the park.

Starved Rock Hikers often teams up with the Starved Rock Foundation, and they will be offering a special promotion on January 28th and January 29th! With the purchase of any item from the LeRocher Gift Shop in the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center, customers will receive their choice of a free Starved Rock Hikers Bald Eagle Postcard! Can't make it out on either of those days? Our Bald Eagle postcards, along with all of our products, can now be purchased on our website. Free shipping is being offered on all stickers, postcards, and magnets for the rest of January.

Ready to book your trip to the park for the weekend of January 28th and watch eagles soar overhead? With an adventure filled day ahead of you, consider relaxing at Grand Bear Resort, just a couple minute drive from the park with a waterpark, arcade, restaurant, and more on-site. Head downtown Utica and stay in an AirBnB at the Bickerman Building above Bruce and Ollies, or find rest in the middle of the park at Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center. On your way out of town, make sure to stop at the Starved Rock Country Welcome Center, just a few steps away from Utica’s Mill St, to pick up any last minute souvenirs and snap a picture with a massive eagle!

Full list of events, courtesy of Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Parks Facebook page

Eagles are not the only wildlife at Starved Rock in the winter! Check out our winter wildlife blog post before your visit to the park and be on the lookout for birds, chipmunks, deer, raptors, and more.

The winter months at Starved Rock State Park offer a unique and exciting opportunity to observe the local wildlife. Whether you're a seasoned birdwatcher or just looking to explore the great outdoors, the park is a great destination for discovering the beauty and diversity of nature – no matter the season you decide to visit!


Trail at the top of Starved Rock

Looking for recommendations when hiking in the winter? Check out our blog post on recommendations to enhance your winter hiking experience.

We hope these winter hiking tips will help you out on your next snowy adventure! Don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag starvedrockhikers when sharing all your winter hiking moments! We’ll also do our best to keep hikers informed via our Hikers group on Facebook. Click here to join for free!

See you on the trail!

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Every time you purchase a product from Starved Rock Hikers, you are also helping the park. A portion of our annual proceeds are donated to the Starved Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Starved Rock & Matthiessen through educational programs, guided hikes, exhibit updates, and more.

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