As the cold temperatures set in and the rivers freeze up north, the eagles begin their migration south following the waters of the Mighty Mississippi as they search for food and reclaim their winter roosting spots.  From January through mid-February, the second largest population of American bald eagles in North America can be found migrating through the Alton region.  For those interested in viewing these magnificent birds, every day is a good day for eagle watching all around Alton!

Have you ever wanted to see a live eagle up close and personal?  The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau will be partnering with the World Bird Sanctuary and TreeHouse Wildlife Center again this year for the "Eagle Meet and Greet." Every Saturday in January, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can meet a live eagle at the Alton Visitor's Center, located at 200 Piasa Street, and learn more about this beautiful bird of prey from a professional handler.  Demonstrations are free. While at the Visitor's Center, eagle enthusiasts can also pick up a free Eagle Watcher's Guide, area information, and restaurant and lodging options.


For visitors interested in their own eagle adventure, the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway provides the best eagle viewing in the entire St. Louis region every day of the week.  The prime eagle viewing times are from sunrise to 11 a.m. and again as the sun sets on the river, particularly from the Locks & Dam in Alton to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton.

Most eagle watchers plan to stay the day in Alton watching the eagles in the early morning hours, breaking for lunch at one of the many fine restaurants in the region and spending the afternoon browsing the dozens of specialty and antique shops in Grafton and Alton.


For those wishing to make eagle watching a winter getaway, there are numerous eagle packages and specials available at hotels and bed & breakfast inns in Alton, Grafton and Elsah.