Eagle Watching on the Mississippi River

Every year tens of thousands of people flock to the Mississippi River to take part in Bald Eagle Watches. They have come to catch a glimpse, perhaps for the first time, of our national symbol.

Up to 2,500 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi near the lock and dams. Turbulence created below the dams provide open water and a smorgasbord of stunned fish for eagles to feast upon. In addition, the wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi are excellent habitat for roosting and an increasing number of cases nesting.

Bald Eagle Watches occur throughout January and February, but eagles can be seen from mid December through early March. It all depends on the weather. As warm weather arrives, most eagles will begin their journey back north to northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada to prepare for the nesting season.

2024 Eagle Watching Events

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 Clinton Bald Eagle Watch 
  • Date/Time:  January 13, 2024; Rescheduled for February 17, 2024
  • 9:00am - 2:00pm, Exhibits and Educational Programs
    • Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd., Clinton, IA  52732
  • 8:30am - 2:30pm, Outdoor eagle viewing at Lock and Dam 13
    • 4999 Lock Road, Fulton, IL  61252
  • For more information contact the Thomson Ranger office at 815-259-3628
 Quad City Bald Eagle Days 
  • Location: QCCA Expo Center; Rock Island, IL

  • Dates/Times:
    January 5: 4pm - 8pm
    January 6: 10am -8pm
    January 7: 10am -5pm

  • Activities: Live eagle presentations, area eagle viewing tours, indoor booth activities

  • For more information contact the Mississippi River Visitor Center at 309-794-5338


 Mississippi River Visitor Center - Eagle Watch / Clock Tower Tours 
  • Where:
    Meet at the Mississippi River Visitor Center: Building 328 Rodman Avenue, Rock Island Arsenal, IL  61204.
    Access to the Arsenal requires visitors to check in with security at the Visitor Control Center: 5309 Prospect Drive, Rock Island, IL  61201
  • When:
    January 13 & 27; 10am & 2pm
    February 3; 10am & 2pm
  • Activity:
    Climb back in history as you ascend the Clock Tower building on the Rock Island Arsenal. The upper floors offer a great view of the Mississippi River around Locks and Dam 15 where there is a good opportunity to view Bald Eagles in the wild. At the height of the tour, we will be 6 floors up in the clock room looking at the inner workings.
  • Reservations are required which can be made by calling the Mississippi River Visitor Center at 309-794-5338.

 LeClaire Eagle Festival 
  • Location: Mississippi River Distilling Company Celebration Center; LeClaire, IA
  • Dates/Times:
    • January 20; 1:00pm - 4:00pm; Ice sculpture carving and eagle viewing along the Mississippi River
    • January 21; 11:00am - 4:00pm, Live eagle presentations, Ice sculpture carving, conservation presentations, kids activities and eagle viewing along the Mississippi River
  • For more information please call: 563-289-4242
 Muscatine Bald Eagle Watch 
  • Location: Pearl City Station & Lock and Dam 16: Muscatine, IA
  • Date/Time: January 20, 9am - 2pm
  • Activities: Live raptors presentation, exhibits, outdoor eagle viewing
  • For more information call the Muscatine Ranger office: 563-263-7913

 Quincy Bald Eagle Watch 
  • Location: Oakley Lindsay Center & Lock and Dam 21; Quincy, IL
  • Dates/Times: 
    January 27: 9am - 2pm
    January 28: 9am - 2pm
  • Activities: Demonstrations and displays; Outdoor eagle viewing at Lock and Dam 21
  • For more information call the Muscatine Ranger office: 563-263-7913