US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website

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.

2020 Eagle Watching Events

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  • Outdoor viewing: Lock & Dam 13, 8:30am-2:30pm
  • Live Bird and Nature Programs: Clinton Community College, 9:00-2:00
  • Free bus service from college to the outdoor viewing area
  • For more information contact the Thomson Ranger office at 815-259-3628

  • Meet at Mississippi River Visitor Center
    Tours begin at 10:00am and 12:00pm and last approximately 90 minutes
  • Combination eagle watches and historical clock tower tours
  • Reservations required. Group size is limited
  • For more information or to make reservations call the Visitor Center: 309-794-5338
  • Enter the Rock Island Arsenal through the Moline gate and check in at the Visitor Control Center if you don't already have a pass onto the Arsenal

  • For information visit the Muscatine County Conservation Board's website
  • Outdoor viewing from 9:00 to 2:00 at Pearl City Station and Lock & Dam 16
  • Live Raptors programs at 9:30 & 11:00 at the Pearl City Station in Riverside Park
  • Environmental exhibits inside the Pearl City Station.