Eagle Watch takes off Saturday, Sunday at Overlook Park
This weekend, the 23rd annual Eagle Watch celebration will take off at Round Butte Overlook Park, approximately 10 miles west of Madras.
The free two-day event, Feb. 24-25, will feature activities that explore the natural and cultural significance of the eagles and other raptors that inhabit the Lake Billy Chinook area. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
"Eagle Watch is a perfect event for the entire family to learn about birds of prey," said Erin Bennet, event organizer and OPRD park ranger. "Birding is a great hobby that anyone at any age can enjoy. All you need is curiosity."
Eagle Watch is coordinated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with Portland General Electric, Crooked River Grassland and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Festivities will be held in "Eagle Village" at the Round Butte Overlook Park's visitor center, west of Madras. Take Southwest Belmont Lane west, turn left on Southwest Mountain View Drive, and follow signs.
On Saturday, visitors can meet OPRD and PGE mascots, build a bluebird house and view wild eagles. The highlight of the day will be the final appearance of Aquila, a rehabilitated 30-year-old golden eagle that has been delighting Eagle Watch visitors since 2010. After this year, she will assume a comfortable life in retirement from public events. Visitors can meet Aquila during Saturday's lunch.
Sunday's activities include bird feeder building, wild eagle watching and a special tribal drumming and dancing presentation by the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers. A free hot dog lunch will be served both days, with donations supporting the Madras High School JROTC program.
Round Butte Overlook Park is home to an estimated 11 pairs of bald eagles, and nine pairs of golden eagles. With migratory eagles joining the resident population in late winter, the area is one of the largest gathering spots for eagles in Oregon.
Admission and parking at Round Butte Overlook Park is free. Attendees can purchase souvenirs and participate in a daily silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Oregon Eagle Foundation. Indian fry bread proceeds will support sending local kids to the rodeo. Only cash and checks will be accepted; no ATM is on site.
For more information about the event, call 541-546-3412 or visit oregonstateparks.org.