Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge will host guided eagle tours into the closed portion of the Refuge to potentially view active bald eagles and their nests. These tours are sponsored by the Friends of Crab Orchard, and are scheduled for January 23, 24, 30, and 31. Volunteers will lead three tours on each Saturday at 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm, and Sunday tours will begin at 11am and 2pm. Sunday tours at 9:00 am are available for interested scout groups. The tour begins at the Crab Orchard Visitor Center with a short talk about bald eagles, followed by the tour which should last approximately two hours. The tours will stop periodically so that visitors may get a closer look at wildlife, but little actual walking will be required.
Beginning December 10th 2015, the Visitor Center will be taking reservations for the eagle tours.
Charges for the tours will remain at $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth under the age of 12. Tours for the Scout groups will be $1 per person. Fees will be collected in person the day of your reservation prior to the tour, so please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is limited, so please call 997-3344 extension 1 to reserve your seat.
The bald eagles that winter at Crab Orchard spend their summers in the northern United States and Canada. The numbers of eagles increase with the arrival of ducks and geese in the late fall. Eagle numbers are highest around New Year’s Day when thirty or more may be present on the Refuge. Seven breeding pairs of eagles also reside at Crab Orchard year-round. Past Eagle Tour participants have been fortunate enough to observe 17 or more eagles in addition to a variety of other wildlife.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System encompassing over 98 million acres and 540 refuges across the nation.