Lake Pueblo Colorado State Park Hosts Annual Eagle Days Event

   01.27.12

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual “Eagle Days” festival, Feb. 3-5, will feature excellent eagle viewing opportunities, activities for youngsters, live bird programs and presentations by raptor experts at Lake Pueblo State Park, the Pueblo Nature & Raptor Center and the Pueblo Zoo. The annual event draws hundreds of visitors from across the state to learn more about the unique birds of prey.

Bald eagles spend the winter at Lake Pueblo State Park, dining on fish from the large expanse of open water and roosting in the large trees. Lake Pueblo offers excellent opportunities to view a variety of birds of prey year-round. During the winter months, the bald eagles group at the west end of the lake, but staff and visitors report sighting individual eagles around the south marina, the Boggs Creek area and the river corridor.

“Eagle Days is a great opportunity to get outdoors in the winter, include the entire family on the outing and learn something about these majestic birds,” said Darcy Mount, a ranger at Lake Pueblo State Park and one of the event’s organizers.

Up to 1,200 bald eagles spend the winter in Colorado. There are roughly 900 active golden eagle nests in Colorado. Unlike bald eagles, golden eagles are common nesting birds in Colorado, but they migrate to several sites throughout the year. Lake Pueblo attracts both types of eagles because the relatively mild winter temperatures prevent freezing on large parts of the lake, creating winter feeding opportunities. Most of the bald eagles leave Colorado in late February and March, heading north to nesting grounds in the northern U.S., Canada and Alaska, but a few remain year-round.

“This is the 16th Annual Eagle Days and we’ve added several new exhibits and events this year,” said John Koshak, a watchable wildlife specialist at Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  “Exhibits and indoor events take place at all three locations, plus outdoor activities are scheduled throughout the weekend around the lake including bird watching tours and nature hikes.”

The weekend of activities starts Friday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. with a talk by wildlife photographer Ron Drummond at Lake Pueblo State Park auditorium. Drummond will announce the winners of this year’s photo contest and light refreshments will be served.

The indoor and outdoor programs and activities continue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. All visitors to Lake Pueblo State Park must have either a daily pass, $7, or an annual pass, $70, but all of the Eagle Day activities are free and open to the public. The schedule of events:

Friday, Feb. 3

6:30 p.m. – Pueblo wildlife photographer Ron Drummond will present a “Colorado Wildlife Slideshow” and an Eagle Day Photography Contest awards ceremony will be held. At the Lake Pueblo State Park Visitor Center Auditorium.

7:30 p.m. – The Koshare Indian Dancers will perform.

Saturday, Feb. 4:

9 a.m. –  Diana Miller will present a live raptors program at the Pueblo Raptor & Nature Center, next to Lake Pueblo State Park.

10 a.m. – A “Prairie Program,” featuring black footed ferrets and prairie dogs from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, followed by a meet and greet until noon. Also at the Raptor & Nature Center.

11:30 a.m. – Air Force Academy over flight of Lake Pueblo State Park.

Noon – Flammulated owl presentation by Brian Linkhart at the Raptor & Nature Center.

1 p.m. – Eagle repository program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the visitor center auditorium.

2 p.m. – Gardening for Wildlife by Linda McMulkin at the park’s visitor center.

3 p.m. – Raptor release at the west fishing area, located on the north side of Lake Pueblo State Park.

Ongoing Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Eagle Viewing at west fishing area at Lake Pueblo State Park, kids’ activities – including making owl puppets, owl cookies and badge making – at the park’s visitor center.

Sunday, Feb. 5

9 a.m. – Wildlife viewing field trip meets at the north entrance to the Pueblo State Wildlife Area, located west of the north entrance to the park and south of Pueblo West,

10:30 a.m. – Bird walk at the Pueblo Raptor & Nature Center.

Noon to 2 p.m. – Live birds on display at the Pueblo Raptor & Nature Center

Noon to 4 p.m. – “See the Eagles” at the Pueblo Zoo. View the Pueblo Zoo’s pair of bald eagles.  1:30 p.m. – A Pueblo zookeeper presentation on bald eagles. Free zoo admission with mention of Eagle Day.

For more information about Pueblo Eagle Days, visit http://www.eagleday.org/  or call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 719-561-5300 or 719-561-9320 or contact Lake Pueblo State Park at 719-561-9302.  Additional information about wildlife viewing in Colorado can be found at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Viewing/Pages/Viewing.aspx.

Eagles are protected birds, which makes it illegal to kill or possess eagle feathers, body parts, nests, eggs or live birds without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  At one time, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species; however, the number of bald eagles increased sufficiently enough to be removed from the list on June 28, 2007.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets everyone outdoors! Attracting more than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado’s 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 224,447 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,300 campsites, and 63 cabins and yurts. For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit www.parks.state.co.us.

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