Photos From a Day of Bald Eagle Watching

  • 01 of 07

    Bald Eagle at the Alton Visitors Center

    Photo by David O'Brien

    Every winter thousands of bald eagles migrate to the St. Louis area. One of the best places to see the eagles is along the Great River Road in Alton and Grafton, Illinois. As you plan your day of eagle watching, a good first stop is the Alton Visitors Center at 200 Piasa Street. Volunteers from the World Bird Sanctuary often bring one of their bald eagles to the center for Meet and Greets with the public.

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  • 02 of 07

    Brussels Free Ferry

    Photo by David O'Brien

    Next, head north on the Great River Road to Grafton. One mile outside of Grafton is the Brussels Free Ferry. The ferry shuttles cars across the Illinois River between Jersey and Calhoun Counties. Bald eagles are often spotted in trees along the river bank and diving for fish in the water near the ferry.

    The Brussels Ferry is one of several ferries operating in the Alton and Grafton area. For a trip across the Mississippi River, try the Golden Eagle Ferry. It operates between the small town of Golden Eagle, Illinois, and St. Charles County, Missouri. Cars and trucks can ride for $8 one-way or $15 round trip.

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  • 03 of 07

    Eagle Perched Along the Illinois River

    Photo by David O'Brien

    This picture shows a bald eagle perched in a tree near the Brussels Free Ferry near Grafton. The eagles build their winter nests along the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

    For other ideas on where to see bald eagles near St. Louis, check out Top Eagle Watching Spots Near Alton, Illinois.

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  • 04 of 07

    Bald Eagle Takes Flight

    Photo by David O'Brien
    This picture shows a bald eagle taking flight from a tree along the Illinois River. The eagle was spotted by Brussels Free Ferry near Grafton. The eagles usually begin to arrive in the St. Louis area in late December. They stay until March before returning north.
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  • 05 of 07

    Pere Marquette Lodge

    Photo by David O'Brien

    After a day of eagle watching, a good place to warm up and get a bite to eat is the Lodge at Pere Marquette State Park. The park is located along the Great River Road, just west of Grafton. The lodge has a huge lobby with comfy chairs and large picture windows. It's a nice spot to relax, grab a drink and enjoy a little conversation.

    If you want to turn your day of eagle watching into a weekend away, Pere Marquette Lodge has 50 guest rooms and 22 stone cabins for overnight stays.

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  • 06 of 07

    Pere Marquette Lodge Chess Board

    Photo by David O'Brien
    Another feature of the Pere Marquette Lodge is the giant chess board in the middle of the lobby. If you know how to play, it can be a fun way to relax and unwind.
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  • 07 of 07

    Pere Marquette Lodge Restaurant

    Photo by David O'Brien
    Pere Marquette Lodge also has a nice, sit down restaurant for those wanting a hot meal. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. You'll find American fare like steaks, pot roast, fried chicken and pork chops. Lighter entrees including sandwiches, soups and salads are also available. Dress is casual and children are welcome.