Monday, December 19, 2016

Refuge Eagle Tours Take Wing in January

Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge at Vian and Tenkiller State Park will be offering free Eagle Watch Tours beginning in January. These tours provide the public with an amazing opportunity to view bald eagles in their natural habitat.

Chad Ford, outdoor recreation planner at the refuge, said he and Leann Bunn, naturalist at Tenkiller State Park, lead the tours.

The tours will be held at the refuge on Jan. 21 and 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25, and on March 4. Participants meet at the refuge headquarters at 9 a.m. and the tours conclude at about noon. The tours are free and no pre-registration required is required.

Ford said Bunn and he lead a short discussion on bald eagles and show a short video before the tour begins. The tour is by bus, and the tour will stop along the way to view bald eagles at their nest sites and other wildlife which might present itself.

“You might see something rare, like the golden eagle we saw last year,” Ford said.

Ford said the bald eagles usually begin their families in December or January.

“The neatest thing,” he said, “is to take the tour multiple times. You can see the eagles working on their nests, incubating the eggs, and the adults feeding the hatched eaglets. It’s a neat progression.”

Southern Bald Eagles typically lay eggs during the months of December or January, and incubate the eggs for about 35 days before they hatch. After the eggs hatch, the real work begins with both adults providing continual care for the young over the 11- to 12-week period until the young birds fledge or leave the nest. 

Ford said tour guests may bring their cameras, spotting scopes and binoculars. The tour also has spotting scopes and binoculars for tour guests’ use.

For more information on the tours contact the refuge at 918-773-5251.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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