Near & Far: Bird Watching Two Ways This Winter - MetroFamily Magazine
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Near & Far: Bird Watching Two Ways This Winter

by Hannah Schmitt

NEAR: Lake Thunderbird State Park

Winter is often thought of as a time many animals are tucked into their homes staying warm. But in Oklahoma, winter brings 800-2,000 eagles to the Sooner State for migration according to the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. Migrating south from Canada in search of warmth for the season, these birds join the approximately 80 pair of bald eagles that call Oklahoma home year-round. For older kids with the patience and interest, trekking out to view these amazing birds can be the learning experience of a lifetime. Here are two ways you can view eagles in Oklahoma this month.

At Norman’s Lake Thunderbird State Park, the public is invited to a special viewing of these spectacular birds from 1-4 p.m. on Feb. 2 and 16 and March 2 and 16. Meet at the Discovery Cove Nature Center to start with an information session to learn some background about eagles. Then go on a guided walking tour of the park to catch a glimpse of these birds in their winter homes. Reservations are required as the viewing sessions are limited to 35 guests.

FAR: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge

In Vian, about two and a half hours east of Oklahoma City, you’ll find plenty of eagle viewing opportunities at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. Their annual Eagle Tour & Loon Watch events take place weekly from now to early March. Visits start by viewing the refuge’s live webcam which documents every move of eagles in a nearby nest. Once you observe from afar, visitors hop on a bus tour to take them on a search for bald eagles in the wild. The bus stops at places within the park that are known for eagle sightings.

Adventurous visitors can continue to hike the park on their own to try to see more eagles, or head to nearby Tenkiller State Park where additional eagles are known to nest. The visit also promises sightings of beautiful loons, aquatic birds that also migrate to Oklahoma in winter.