If you're looking for opportunities to view bald eagles this winter, one park with that option may surprise you. Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma is offering two Bald Eagle Watch events later this month.
The activities are scheduled for two Saturdays—January 16 and 30, 2010—and will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a program at the Travertine Nature Center. After that program the group will caravan with park rangers to the Lake of the Arbuckles to locate and observe eagles in the wild.
Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars and a sack lunch. If you're interested in wildlife photography, feel free to bring a camera, and a bird identification book can prove handy for other species you may spot during the trip.
Bald eagles are only one of more than 160 species of birds that have been recorded at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. According to a park publication
Although small in size, (less than 10,000 acres), Chickasaw National Recreation Area plays host to a remarkable number of birds. The east-west ecotone where the hardwood forests meet the grasslands, the overlap of north and south, and the proximity to the central flyway provide more types of birds than are found in some larger areas.
The park traces its roots to 1902,
when the Sulphur Springs Reservation was established through an agreement between the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations and the federal government. The Chickasaw Nation sold the land to the government in order to protect the unique freshwater and mineral springs along Travertine and Rock Creeks.
The area was renamed Platt National Park in 1906 and in 1976 it was combined with the Arbuckle Recreation Area to become Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
You'll find driving directions and other information to help you plan a visit on the park's website.
If you need additional information about the Bald Eagle Watch, call the Travertine Nature Center at 580-622-7234. In view of recent weather all across the region, it may be prudent to check the park website or call the visitor center to confirm the status of the event before making a lengthy drive to the park.