Visitors flock to lake to see wintering eagles
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011 9:01 pm
Winter programs are in full swing this month at Reelfoot Lake.
The arrival of wintering American Bald Eagles is once again drawing a steady flow of visitors to the lake region.
“The return of the American Bald Eagles to Reelfoot Lake has become one of the most exciting winter events in Tennessee,” Reelfoot Lake State Park manager James Cox said.
“The entire staff at Reelfoot Lake State Park looks forward to providing several unique opportunities for guests to see our national symbol in its natural habitat,” he said.
Visitors to Reelfoot Lake can choose from several planned activities scheduled through February, or there are always the raptor rehabilitation cages located behind the Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center off Highway 22 West. Many winter visitors to the lake make their way around the lake by car or just venture out on foot along some of the shoreline trails to catch a glimpse of the majestic birds.
The scenic vistas and unique atmosphere of Reelfoot Lake attract tourists from across the region, country and from around the globe.
Weekends are the busiest times at Reelfoot Lake during the winter.
The Reelfoot Lake State Park’s Guest Speaker Program is already under way, with Saturday night programs scheduled through Feb. 26 at the Visitors Center.
Knox Martin, coordinator of raptor rehab at the Memphis Zoo, is scheduled as the guest speaker Saturday night at the Visitors Center. His program, and all of the Saturday programs, begin at 7 p.m.
Martin will talk about the Memphis Zoo’s efforts to rehabilitate and release injured birds of prey. He will also bring with him a variety of non-releasable birds to the program.
The Saturday night programs at the Visitors Center on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12, 19 and 26 will be conducted by the Reelfoot Lake State Park staff and will feature some of the injured raptors kept at the lake. The programs will focus on the birds’ importance to ecology and economy of the Reelfoot Lake area.
All of the Saturday night programs are free to the public.
Coming up during the weekend of Feb. 4-6 is the Seventh Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival.
The Saturday night program during the eagle festival will feature one of the most popular speakers to visit Reelfoot Lake — John Stokes. He will be joined by Dale Kernahan as they present a program entitled, “Save Our American Raptors.”
The two wildlife experts will be bringing with them a variety of hawks, owls and eagles, all of which will be allowed to fly freely around the room during their presentation.
The program is described as an “unforgettable experience” in press releases about the event.
The Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival is being sponsored by the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council, the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Reelfoot Lake Research and Teaching Center, Reelfoot Lake State Park and several businesses across the region.
During the eagle festival, guided van and bus tours will be offered for $5 per person, and the tours will leave twice daily from the Visitors Center. Tour reservations are required and can be made by calling (731) 253-9652.
The guided tours will depart from the Visitors Center at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the weekend eagle festival.
In addition to the Saturday night program and eagle tours during the three-day festival, there are several other events that have been scheduled. There will be walking tours, interpretive sessions, an art and photography contest, storytelling, a silent auction and several arts and crafts vendors.
For more information about the eagle festival, go to www.reelfoottourism.com or call (731) 253-2007.
For information about Reelfoot Lake, contact the Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center at (731) 253-9652 or go to www.tnstateparks.com/reelfootlake.
Published in The Messenger 1.21.11