Bald Eagles Then and Now: A Photographic Journey

On display throughout the weekend will be a special photography exhibit. John Maxwell, DNR photographer, shares fascinating and inspiring photos from the eagle reintroduction program of the late 1980s and early 1990s. These historic photos are complemented by modern day images from local photographers of bald eagles thriving at Monroe Lake.

Friday, January 27

Friday, January 27


6:30 p.m. Lantern-lit Owl Prowl

Go owl prowling with Will Schaust from the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center, as he attempts to call in and “talk” to our local owls! Bundle up for the weather and wear good walking shoes. 60 minutes

Limited to the first 20 people to sign up at the registration table.


6:30 p.m. Better Bird Photography

Want to capture great photos of the birds you see this weekend? Ready to take your photography to the next level? Jeff Danielson will share his tips and tricks for better bird photography, lessons that he’s learned in over 15 years of photographing birds and other animals at Monroe Lake. Jeff’s photos are regularly displayed at the Spears Gallery in Nashville and sold all over the country (and also showcased frequently on the Monroe Lake Facebook page!). 60 minutes


8:00 p.m. Lantern-lit Owl Prowl

Limited to the first 20 people to sign up at the registration table. See above description.


8:00 p.m. Monroe Lake Eagle Update

Rex Watters, Monroe Lake’s Wildlife Biologist, will provide an update on the current status of the bald eagle population and bald eagle nesting at Monroe Lake. This will include stories about several eagles who were part of the reintroduction program in the early 1990s – and were recently “rediscovered” still living here at the lake! 30 minutes


Saturday, January 28

Saturday, January 28


9:00 a.m. The Bare Bones

Patrick Haulter, Interpretive Naturalist at Brown County State Park, will give you a peek at the internal structures of eagles and other raptors by examining their bones. Learn what makes bird skeletons unique – and discover the clues that tie their ancestry to the dinosaurs. 45 minutes


10:15 a.m. Eagle Tracker

Researchers use a variety of high-tech and low-tech tools to study birds such as Bald Eagles. Federal (USGS) leg bands, colored leg bands, patagial wing tags, radio-telemetry, and satellite telemetry are just some of the ways eagles and other birds are identified and tracked. See and touch examples of these tools and find out how they are used to learn about birds with Dr. Brian Washburn, a Research Wildlife Biologist with the USDA. 45 minutes


11:15 a.m. 21st Century Birding

Birding is more accessible than ever before, thanks to a variety of apps now available for your smartphone or tablet. Will Schaust, from the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center, will introduce you to the best birding apps available and demonstrate how they can be used to augment or improve your birding experience. 30 minutes


Saturday at 12 p.m. Lunch with the Eagles - Separate ticket required

Ticket includes both lunch and an engaging presentation by the Indiana Raptor Center! The IRC will share a wide variety of their LIVE education raptors, including both a bald and a golden eagle. Lunch is a Birds of Prey themed taco bar, where you can “eat like a raptor!” Build your own tacos with choice of hard or soft shell tortillas, venison (eat like a Golden Eagle!), catfish (eat like a Bald Eagle!), wild rice, corn, and taco toppings; plus turkey soup and dumplings and a special dessert.


1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eagle Crafts and Activities

Kids (and kids at heart!) can drop by anytime between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. to enjoy an assortment of eagle activities and crafts.


2 to 4 p.m. Self-guided Driving Tour

Local birders will be stationed with spotting scopes at multiple eagle “hotspots” around the lake from 2 to 4 p.m. In addition to highlighting any eagles that come into range, they will also train their scopes on other interesting birds. Over 150 bird species have been spotted at Monroe Lake during the winter! Pick up the driving tour map, and a bird checklist, at the registration table!


4:30 p.m. Eagles around the World

Bald eagles are certainly not the only eagles in the world. Wyatt Williams, Interpretive Naturalist at Spring Mill State Park, will introduce you to the wider eagle family tree and give you insights into the lives of some eagle species living in the far-flung (and not so far-flung) reaches of our globe. 45 minutes


7:00 p.m. Keynote: Eagles in a Modern World

Bald and Golden Eagles are truly iconic species of birds.  Recovery of Bald Eagle populations represents a true conservation success story.  Bald eagles are now repopulating areas throughout much of their historic range in the lower 48 states of the U.S. that were unoccupied only a few years ago.  Concurrently, researchers are finding that Golden Eagles are not just a western US species – they are frequently observed in eastern and Midwest states. 

New technologies have allowed us unprecedented views into the lives of eagles.  Contemporary research on these 2 species is showing us previously unknown aspects of their behavior and ecology:  how far and fast they fly, what habitats they prefer, where they hunt for food, and where they go to spend the winter. 

However, with success come challenges.  Given the exponential population growth of Bald Eagles and concerns regarding Golden Eagles, the frequency and impact of human-eagle conflicts is an important concern for federal and state wildlife agencies tasked with managing these problems.  For example, the risk of eagle-aircraft collisions is an increasing problem at civil airports and military airfields.  Wind energy development projects represent a monumental challenge in the management and conservation of both species.  Other problems occur when eagles prey on livestock or other wildlife - especially threatened and endangered species.   Effective ways to minimize the impacts of conflicts between eagles and people are needed. 

This presentation will provide insights into the world of eagles and their many fascinating traits, as well as explore the challenges of ensuring the long-term co-existence of eagles and humans. 45 minutes


8:30 p.m. Eagle Movie Night

Wind down for the evening as we screen “American Eagle.” Photographed by three-time Emmy-winning cinematographer Neil Rettig, this first-ever HD hour on bald eagles, produced in 2016, is an intimate portrait of these majestic raptors' lives in the wild. Complimentary snacks available. 60 minutes

Sunday, January 29

Sunday, January 29


8:00 a.m. Sunrise Bird Hike

David Rupp, an experienced local birder and owner of IndiGo Birding, will lead this morning hike. Dress warmly and bring a pair of binoculars (a limited number of loaner pairs will be available). Coffee and hot chocolate in “to-go” cups (or bring your own travel mug!) will be available right before the hike. 60 minutes


9:30 a.m. Hacking Tower Hike

Limited to the first 30 people to sign up at the registration table – must sign up by 5 p.m. on Saturday!

Want to see where it all began? Jill Vance, Interpretive Naturalist for Monroe Lake, will take you to the location in the Northfork marshes where the bald eagle reintroduction program in Indiana was carried out in the late 1980s and early 1990s. You’ll hike to the remnants of the hacking and observation towers (about 1 mile, round-trip) and view video excerpts of the young bald eagles being cared for and banded. 2 hours

Please be aware that the program length includes a 45-minute drive from Fairfax SRA to the Northfork marshes east of Bloomington. The program will conclude at Northfork (so, if you’re lodging at the Fourwinds, make sure you check out before this program!). Northfork is located off of State Road 46, which provides direct access to either State Road 37 or Interstate 65.