Eagle Weekend at Turkey Run
I was lucky enough to attend Turkey Run State Park's Eagles in Flight Weekend which took place from February 1-3. The weekend was packed with talks from experts and eagle viewing opportunities.
On Friday night, we learned about raptors of the night from Leslie Grow, a naturalist from the Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Rehab Center at Hardy Lake. She brought an Eastern Screech Owl, a Barn Owl, a Barred Owl, and even a Great Horned Owl. After her wonderful presentation, Barbara Tibbets, the interpretive naturalist for Turkey Run, taught us how to mimic owl calls with the hope of attracting one of these awesome birds. Later, she led us on a nighttime owl prowl but unfortunately the owls didn't show.
On both Saturday and Sunday mornings a group of hopeful eagle viewers caravanned from the snowy Inn at 6:45AM to watch Bald Eagles fly from their roosting spot and down Sugar Creek. We parked on a bridge overlooking the gorgeous West Union Covered Bridge and waited for the show to begin. On Sunday morning, I saw at least 70 mature and immature Bald Eagles fly overhead within 45 minutes. The sight definitely justified standing in the frigid weather! It was amazing to see so many birds because I can remember attending an Eagle Weekend in Southern Indiana ten years ago and seeing no eagles! It was awesome just to be able to look up and spot them so easily.
To warm up from these chilly mornings, my parents and I headed to the nearby town of Rockville to get some coffee before the afternoon activites started at the Inn. I highly suggest checking out the Jailhouse Cafe if you are ever in the area! Their breakfasts were wonderful and I loved the decor.
Leslie Grow gave another live bird talk on Saturday but this time she showed us a beautiful Bald Eagle. Seeing an eagle inside really reminded me just how big these birds actually are! We also learned how to identify the different species of hawks that hang around roadways from local birding expert Alan Bruner. These talks definitely gave everyone more incentive to go back outside to look for more raptors!
After the talks, everyone was free to visit four great birding locations in the surrounding area. Each place had an expert on site to answer any questions. My parents and I saw an eagle right off the road, an eagle nest, trumpeter swans in a cornfield, and even an albino Red-Tailed Hawk.
Before heading back to Purdue on Sunday, I stopped by to see John Schaust, a Wild Birds Unlimited naturalist, place bands on some of the birds caught from the feeders at the Turkey Run Nature Center. He was very informative and even let some of the onlookers release the banded birds.
I loved taking advantage of this great program and seeing so many eagles! Turkey Run was beautiful in the snow and I can't wait to visit again soon! To find more special events and learn more about what Turkey Run has to offer head over to http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2964.htm.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources also made a video that further highlights the event's success! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB74NOn-aiY