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Eagles Et Cetera a 'success' | Urban Wildlife

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Eagles Et Cetera a 'success'
Urban Wildlife
Eagles Et Cetera a 'success'

 More than 300 guests from central Arkansas and as far away as Texas and Louisiana traveled to DeGray Lake Resort State Park this past weekend to celebrate the state’s native birds of prey.  The focus, as always, was bald eagles.  Excited guests were not deterred by the chilly, overcast weather, and 14 eagle watch boat tours departed from the lodge to search for the majestic birds in the wild.  Anyone who did not manage to see a wild bald eagle had three opportunities to see Lynn, a live bald eagle from the Little Rock Zoo.  The zoo also brought nine other birds as ambassadors for their wild counterparts, helping guests to understand the importance of birds of prey to a healthy ecosystem. 

Several of the weekend’s programs were filled to capacity with eager audience members including the Zoo’s birds of prey program, bird themed storytelling by Millwood State Park assistant superintendent Dennis Miller, and a lighthearted bird feeding program by Yvonne Duvall, interpreter from Queen Wilhelmina State Park.  More than 200 adults and children stopped by the activity room where park interpreters guided them through a series of bird-themed games, crafts, and educational programs.   

Park interpreters were pleased to introduce a new element to the weekend festivities- a full size replica bald eagle nest built by DeGray Lake Resort State Park interpreter David Armstrong.  The nest was available for pictures the entire weekend.  Guests who stayed through Sunday had a special opportunity to take a picture with Lynn, the bald eagle standing in front of the nest.  Park staff members hope to preserve the nest for future Eagles et Cetera festivals and develop it into a must see attraction.

Other birds of prey also had their chance to shine.  Rodney Paul, a raptor rehabilitator from Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas, released three eastern screech owls, a barred owl, and a juvenile red-tailed hawk after his program.  All of the birds had been rehabilitated at Paul’s facility.  Several of the rehabilitated birds were spotted hanging around the lodge after their release offering great photo opportunities for attendees.

Finally, a few adventurous guests were able to join master falconer Rusty Scarborough Friday afternoon on a live hunt using Harris’s hawks.  A park interpreter led the group to an undeveloped island in the lake where the hawks successfully captured two squirrels.  This is the third year for the live falconry hunt and the only place in Arkansas where guests can participate in this ancient art.  On Saturday those who did not go on the live hunt were able to admire the birds used for falconry and view video clips of different falconry birds in action during Scarborough’s program at the lodge convention center.     

Eagle tours at DeGray Lake Resort State Park will continue through February.  In March most of the eagles will return north for the breeding season.  For further information about tours and activities contact the visitor center at (501) 865-5810 or visit us online at www.degray.com.  DeGray Lake Resort State Park is located near Hot Springs and Arkadelphia, six miles north of I-30 at Caddo Valley (exit 78) or 21 miles south of Hot Springs, Arkansas on Highway 7. 


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