The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that. These regal birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings. Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, Bald Eagles have flourished under protection.
The Kentucky State Parks offers Eagle Watch Weekends - a chance to view the eagles from land and water while learning about this national symbol and other wildlife. The park system will sponsor this wildlife-watching opportunity as bald eagles gather around the major lakes of western Kentucky looking for food. The park tours allow guests to observe and learn about these beautiful birds of prey.
The tours take place at three state resort parks during weekends in January and February, on an excursion yacht and by van. They are led by state park naturalists and staff from the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
“Eagle Watch Weekends offer a great opportunity for participants to experience this success story firsthand,” said Geoff Roberts, a conservation educator with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “To date, we have more bald eagles nesting in Kentucky than at any other point in history since we’ve been keeping track- it’s something to be excited about.”
Ticket prices for the weekend tours are $56 a person. The three parks are also offering overnight packages. Most tours last from three to 3½ hours. The eagle weekend tours include evening programs on Friday and Saturday. Kenlake State Resort Park is offering a brunch cruise on February 3. Kentucky Dam Village is also offering van tours to the Ballard Wildlife Management Area during its weekend.
How to Book Your Tickets
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (270.362.4271): January 11-13. Yacht tours and van tours to the Ballard Wildlife Management Area.
Experience the beauty of Kentucky Lake on board a luxury cruise ship while you view a diverse range of wildlife from the comfort of indoor cabins and outdoor decks. Interpretive staff from Kentucky Department of Parks and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife will be available to assist in spotting these magnificent birds and to answer questions.
Van tours are $45 for adults and $30 for children 8-12. Fee includes all educational sessions, a box lunch, and a T-shirt. $70 for the cruise and a meal served aboard the CQ Princess while underway.
Lake Barkley State Resort Park (270.924.1131): January 25-27. Yacht tours.
Special outings led by knowledgeable staff are arranged to view the majestic birds in the wild by heated yacht and by van.
Kenlake State Resort Park (270.474.2211): February 2-4. Yacht tours. Brunch cruise on February 3.
The CQ Princess allows observation through windows while you are inside, or optional viewing from the bow and stern. Staff will be on board helping spot eagles and sharing information about the eagles and other animals/birds that may be seen. Tours often see between 10 and 45 eagles plus ducks, loons, deer, coyote, fox, and on occasion, Golden Eagles.
Restrooms and complimentary hot chocolate and coffee are available on board. Bring your binoculars and wear warm clothing in case you want to step out on the bow and be prepared to see the beauty of nature!
Special Educational Tour
“The bald eagle is such a wonderful example about how we can make a difference and what a huge impact we have on our environment,” said Carey Ruff, special events coordinator for Kentucky State Parks.”The Kentucky State Parks have some of the most amazing classrooms in the state. Reading that the bald eagle has a wingspan of up to eight feet is pretty impressive, but seeing the bird soar above you with the sounds of Kentucky Lake all around you is an experience that brings that information to life.”
Guests should bring warm clothes, rain gear and binoculars. These trips can take place under extreme weather conditions.The resorts offer lodges, cottages and restaurants. Registration is required for the Eagle Watch Weekends. Call the parks for registration, details and fee information or visit parks.ky.gov.