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Eagle Watches on the Connecticut River

By Land

Eagle Watches on the Connecticut River
The Audubon Shop
Saturdays: February 4-March 4 7:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Winter's cold brings dozens of Bald Eagles down the Connecticut River from Canada in search of ice-free fishing. In recent years, over 50 eagles have wintered on the lower Connecticut River. Their 6 - 8 foot wingspan makes the Bald Eagle the largest predator in North America.

Join us for our 29th year leading Eagle Watches on the CT River. Leader Jerry Connolly of The Audubon Shop will help participants spot eagles from a variety of locations on the river, and will discuss the bird's natural history on this land - based trip. We'll also spot ducks, birds of prey and songbirds and whatever else comes into view!

It is now estimated that up to 100 eagles winter in Connecticut, from December to early March, along major rivers and at large reservoirs. The number of wintering eagles has been increasing slowly, and depends on the severity of each winter. The Bald Eagle's recovery in our state (since there were none occurring in CT in the 1950's) is considered a major environmental victory.

The natural year-round habitat of bald eagles is near lakes, marshes, rivers, or seacoasts, where there are tall trees nearby for nesting and roosting and fish for eating. Bald Eagles feed primarily on fish, but they also are opportunistic predators and scavengers that will eat anything that can be caught easily or scavenged, such as waterfowl, small and large mammals, and livestock carrion. In addition, they have a reputation of being thieves, and can be seen robbing other raptors or gulls of their catch.

Participants will either meet at The Audubon Shop at 7:45am or at the first location on the river at 8:30am (according to where you are coming from) and then carpool with Jerry to 5 different viewing spots along the river. (This is not a boat trip). Call the shop at 203-245-9056 for tickets and information. 
By Boat
Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruise Schedule by RiverQuest
February 4 - March 19

Saturday and Sunday Cruises:
February 4 through March 19 depart at:  
9:00 am, 11:30 am, and 2:00 pm.
Friday Cruises:
February 10 through March 10 depart at:  
10:00 am and 12:30 pm

With nesting Bald Eagles making the news all over the country, you can be sure that this group in Essex, CT wants everyone to know that there are eagles right here in our backyard. Connecticut River Expeditions of Haddam is ready to cruise on the lower Connecticut River this February and March for the 14th year of Winter Wildlife Eagle Boat Cruises. This year they have teamed up with the Connecticut River Museum and will be departing from the Museum's dock in Essex. With this partnership, passengers not only get to enjoy the river and its wildlife from the water, but also the entire Museum including their special "Eagles of Essex" exhibit.

As the river, lakes and ponds to our north freeze, eagles and other wildlife make their way to the lower CT River for their favorite food - FISH. Eagles have made a huge comeback over the past few decades and depending on the year, more eagles than ever are being sighted in this area. On past cruises, we have spotted up to 41 Bald Eagles, three types of grebe and swan and merganser, golden eagle, many different gull and hawk species, loons, coyote, fox, deer, three types of seal, and even a bobcat.

For more information visit

More Events

1/20-2/11 Imogen Says Nothing at the Yale Rep

1/26-6/30 From Robber-Baron Ostentation to Practical Simplicity: New Capitol America Exhibit at New Haven Museum

1/26 Flights of Fancy, New Haven

1/28 noon-3 p.m. Souper Bowl, Madison

1/29 7 p.m. Decades Rewind at the Shubert

1/29 2 p.m. Hamden Arts Commission: Peter C. Hereld Sensational Sunday Performance Series

Through 2/5 Long Wharf Theatre: Samuel Beckett's Endgame with Brian Dennehy and Reg E.Cathey

3/12 1:30 p.m. St. Patrick's Day Parade

Please visit our calendar for additional events.

This newsletter is produced in collaboration with the South Central Regional Council of Governments.