Eagles and Winter Bird Watching

What better way to start off the new year, then trying to spot Bald Eagles!    There are several great locations to spot birds in Southernmost Illinois.  The Cache River Wetlands offer great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds.

The Cache River Wetland Center provides resources and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor’s center.    There are also opportunities to learn about birds.

When French Voyageurs first came upon the waters of the Cache more than 200 years ago, they named the river with the French word for “hidden” – and, indeed, the Cache River is still a hidden treasure today. One could easily spend a lifetime exploring and discovering the natural wonders of these woods and wetlands. But, if you only have a weekend, or even a few hours, the CACHE RIVER AUTO TOUR is designed to showcase the area’s highlights and whet your appetite for a return visit!
A detailed map features stops that represent some of the best the Cache has to offer. Site descriptions written by nature authors Michael Jeffords and Susan Post, based on their many years of personal exploration, provide a wealth of information about the unique plants, animals, insects, landscape features and seasonal sights and sounds to be experienced at each stop. The auto Tour map has 11 natural sites, with 16 historical sites in the general area listed and marked on the map depicting the rich human history of the Cache, including the Trail of Tears, historic railroad depots, a pioneer cabin built in the 1850s, a Revolutionary War campsite, graves of participants in the infamous Hell’s Neck Feud and more. Suggested itineraries are provided, depending on how much time you have to spend and the level of activity desired.

Free copies of the CACHE RIVER AUTO TOUR map and brochure are now available at the Cache River Wetlands Center and the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge Office, or can be downloaded at: http://www.friendsofthecache.org

Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands

Cache River Wetlands Center

8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL.   618-657-2064    GPS:  37.31290 – 89.02120

The Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resources and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor’s center.  For more information, call 618-657-2064

 The Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area

2755 Refuge Road, Jonesboro, IL.  618-833-5175       Lat: 37.4219 N°     Long: 89.3734 W°

A small preserve west of Jonesboro that clings to Illinois Route 146. Within its confines are several viewing stations. Visitor signs suggest the best viewing times are between December and February. This is when the eagle migration brings the birds to the region in search of water not frozen by the winter temperatures, as Bald Eagles prefer to feed on fish.

Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area

Just east of Rt. 3, Miller City, IL 62962
618-776-5689         GPS Coordinates: N  37° 08.977′        W 89° 19.645′

Over 250,000 Canada geese winter in Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area, and bald eagles are abundant as well.



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