Henry Bald Eagle Day Feb. 20

February 11, 2010 at 02:50 PM

The Henry Area Chamber of Commerce and the Henry American Legion will host the 9th “Bald Eagle Day” on Saturday, February 20th, 2010, at the Henry riverfront. 

The day will start at dawn at the American Legion Hall, located on the bluff just above the Illinois River.  The American Legion Hall will be renamed “Bald Eagle Central” for the day.  The Henry American Legion will prepare and serve a pancake and sausage breakfast until the food runs out.  Coffee and hot chocolate will be available all morning.

An enlarged map of the area will be on display and will note the area, time, and the number of eagles sighted and reported by spotters in the area.  Several eagle nests are visible from the highways in the area and will be indicated on the map.  Nesting eagles do not migrate and stay in the area year around.  Recently, quite a few young eagles, which don’t have their white colors yet, have been sighted as well as adult eagles. In previous years, as many as fifteen eagles at a time have been sighted near Henry.  In 2008, during the morning of “Bald Eagle Day”, at least a dozen Bald Eagles provided a show at the riverfront by swooping down and taking fish from the river while others demonstrated the beginnings of their mating dance in the air.  One professional photographer took nearly 300 photos that day. 

This year, as the river and lakes freeze, the eagles should be congregating near open areas in the river barge channel.  The best viewing times are from dawn until around noon, so come early and bring your binoculars.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have a representative at “Bald Eagle Central” with displays and information about Bald Eagles.  Photos taken of eagles in the area will also be on display.  “Bald Eagle Central” will close at approximately 11:30 AM and move to the Grade School for lunch and the afternoon program.

At approximately 10:30 AM, at the Henry Grade School gymnasium, Wildlife Prairie State Park will present their “Birds of Prey” program.  A live Bald Eagle and various hawks, owls, and other birds of prey will be on display and discussed by the very knowledgeable handlers from Wildlife Prairie State Park.

Shortly following the “Birds of Prey” will be a Native American, Rudy Vallejo, who will perform an authentic, in-costume “Eagle Dance” as performed in American Indian ceremonies well over a century ago.  Rudy will also have some souvenir crafts available for sale in the lobby of the school.

The admission for both shows is only $4 per person, children 7 and under are free.

Lunch will be available at the Grade School from the DC Busters.  “The Birds of Prey” and the “Eagle Dance” will be repeated at approximately 1 PM, with admission $4, the same as the early shows.