Eagle tours start later this month

Provided the government shutdown has ended, the public will be able to take part in a series of eagle tours and loon watches beginning at the end of this month at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.

Posted on the Refuge's website was a notice that “Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, this website will not be updated until further notice. Where public access to refuge lands does not require the presence of a federal employee or contractor, activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue on the same terms as before the appropriations lapse. Any entry onto Refuge System property during this period of federal government shutdown is a the visitor's sole risk.”

The shutdown was entering day 13 as the writing of this article.

However, the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is still inviting the public to see the southern bald eagles by participating in one of several tours throughout the winter. Tours have been scheduled as follows:

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Jan 26, 2019 

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Feb 2, 2019 

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Feb 9, 2019 

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Feb 16, 2019 

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Feb 23, 2019 

Eagle Tour & Loon Watch: Mar 2, 2019 

Information on the website said the tours will begin by watching eagles from the refuge's webcam before leaving on the tour bus. The bus holds 25 individuals. Those participating in the tours are encouraged to bring binoculars or cameras with a telephoto lens.

Normally, stops are made at two nesting sites in addition to other locations where eagles frequently appear. Two spotting scopes will be provided for a close-up look at the eagles.

Following the morning tour at the Refuge, the tour will break for a lunch in Vian before heading to Tenkiller State park's Driftwood Nature Center to continue bird watching for more eagles and loons. The tours will happen unless there is a travel advisory.

Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is located south of Vian on Robert S. Kerr Reservoir, a popular place to view eagles in Oklahoma. It is estimated 800 to 2,000 eagles migrate to the state from Canada and the northern states for the warmer climate. About 80 pairs of bald eagles are year-round residents of the state, according to information on the Refuge's website.

Due to the cold weather, Refuge employees advise dressing for warmth with a heavy coat, hiking boots, hat, gloves and scarves.

Sequoyah County Times

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