On a gorgeous spring-like day, 12 young birders and nature explorers from Iowa Young Birders and the Junior Explorer’s League of Burlington joined together for a morning learning about hawk identification and watching Bald Eagles on the Mississippi River. We had a very fun morning!
We started the morning with a brief program about how to identify Iowa’s hawks and eagles. Young birders and nature explorers learned that in addition to the color of the feathers, size and shape are very important characteristics for identifying hawks and eagles. Thanks to hawk and eagle display boards from our friends with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Diversity Program, young birders and nature explorers could observe the life size and shape of Iowa’s hawks and eagles, seeing first-hand just how large a Bald Eagle is!
Anxious to get outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, we headed out along the Mississippi River to look for Bald Eagles and other birds. We were quickly treated by an adult Bald Eagle soaring overhead and all young birders and nature explorers enjoyed great looks. We took the opportunity to learn about the conservation success story involving the magnificent bird. Bald Eagles continued to fly overhead for the entire morning, a pleasing sight over the big river. We also observed several Ring-billed Gulls foraging over the river and learned how to identify the gulls as well as a bit about their life history. But most importantly, we were enjoying the outdoors on a spring-like day in February!We’re grateful to Jessica Johnson and the Junior Explorer’s League of Burlington for allowing us to join them. Many thanks also to the Port of Burlington Welcome Center for allowing us to use their facilities. You can view our trip list here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S27851886