7 Best Places and Times to See Bald Eagles in Illinois

When the founding fathers selected the bald eagle as their national symbol, they were well aware of their reasoning. The bald eagle is a magnificent and elegant predatory bird. Because it soars across the skies at will, the eagle is a symbol of freedom. Being one of the strongest animals on Earth, it also represents strength. However, where are bald eagles visible? American bald eagles typically migrate to different states across the country in the winter. Illinois ranks second in the nation for the number of bald eagles that winter in Alaska.

Let’s examine the top seven locations and times in Illinois to view bald eagles. Approximately 3,100 eagles live in the state throughout the winter. The eagles often land in the state in December and depart in March. Any time is a good time to go eagle watching, but mornings are particularly good.

Four Rivers

In Illinois, eagles are likely to be roving around wherever you are. Four Rivers, though, is among the greatest places. The Channahon Four Rivers Education Center has information on eagles. Aside from observing the eagles, you can participate in a variety of exciting activities. One piece of advice, though: dress appropriately for the weather. Winter is chilly, so it’s crucial that you stay warm when you’re outside.


Quincy, a small town in central Illinois, is a great place to see bald eagles. Imagine a hamlet tucked away behind the Mississippi River, where you may observe eagles flying through the skies and catching fish, just as they would in the wild. Great River Eagle Days are another event held in January when you may observe eagle activity all day long. Even a complete weekend full of exciting family activities is offered.


The charming hamlet of Gladstone, which is in central Illinois, is a haven for eagle enthusiasts. The eagles enjoy flying over the waters of the Mississippi River, which runs alongside Gladstone, and waiting for fish to show up to take them in. From the moment you park your car to the banks of the Mississippi, you may see eagles everywhere. Every sight will be breathtaking.

Quad Cities

Bald eagles can be seen all throughout the Quad Cities Region, displaying their wings and interacting with one another. They’re prepared to put their lives in danger to capture fish that float up. The sight of hundreds of bald eagles arranged in a line along the Mississippi River is incredibly spectacular. The Eagle Days Environmental Fair is held in Rock Island, Illinois, and is a great place to experience eagle fun if you’re in the northern Illinois Quad Cities Region.

Park at Starved Rock State

Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois is one of the best spots to observe bald eagles. There are lots of eagles soaring around, interacting with one another and biding their time for food. There are several hiking paths where you can go to watch the eagles from different perspectives. Additionally, there is a 125-foot-tall sandstone cliff with 360-degree vistas of the Illinois River and bald eagles in their native environment. To find out more about these magnificent animals, you can always purchase a ticket for the Bald Eagle Trolley excursions if you’d like guided excursions.

Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge

Bald eagles travel south throughout the winter, and you may witness their magnificent flight from several locations in Illinois. The roughly 4,000 acres that make up Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge are all maintained habitat where eagles are allowed to fly and wander. Situated in the southern region of Illinois, this site offers eagle viewing opportunities alongside a view of the local fauna. Late January is the greatest time to watch eagles. Even bald eagle nests are visible to you.

Pere Marquette State Park

Pere Marquette State Park, which lies in the town of Grafton in southern Illinois, is teeming with eagles in the winter. The town of Graton hosts its annual Bald Eagle Festival in January. so that in addition to eagle watching, you can take part in some exciting family-friendly activities. Just remember to dress warmly because the weather will cool down.

In summary

These, then, are the top seven locations and times in Illinois to view bald eagles. Eagles tend to migrate to the state throughout the winter, so if you’re thinking about hiking there, that’s your lucky time to go. To witness eagles in their native environments, visit any of these breathtaking locations. It will be an unforgettable experience to see the magnificent animal, the US national symbol, in its most untainted state when you are there.