Traveling to the Iowa shop this weekend? There’s a lot going on when you get here! Here’s a rundown of some fun happenings in our little LeClaire that we don’t want you to miss.
First up: There are eagles here, and we have the best spot in the country to view them!
The bald eagle was chosen as our national bird in 1782 as a symbol of strength and longevity. Seeing one for the first time is unforgettable, not just because of what it represents but also because of its size. (We’re talking about a 3-foot tall bird, y’all!) Right now, eagles, with their incredible eight-foot wingspans, are flying above LeClaire at speeds of 75 miles an hour. They are looking for places to build new nests and to return to their existing ones along the Mississippi River, nests that can measure anywhere from five to nine feet wide and tip the scales at two tons! They’re easy to spot – just look for trees bowed from the top by all the weight. Eagles prefer to remain close to water–that’s what makes nests high above the Mississippi so ideal.
When they aren’t nesting, they can be seen near LeClaire’s Lock and Dam No. 14, where water flow is interrupted and allows wintering eagles to scoop fish right out of the river. Mike has even reported picking up fish heads in his backyard, dinner leftovers dropped by eagles from flying overhead!
LeClaire has such a reputation for eagle-watching that photographers from all over the country head to the river town for the opportunity to snap the perfect photo, and now you have the chance to join them!
Here’s some advice for safely observing these magnificent creatures.
- Lock and Dam No. 14 Preserve is the best spot for viewing and is open 24/7
- If you’d like to get the best photo, we recommend viewing them after 12 pm.
- To beat the larger crowds, get out during the weekdays vs the weekends.
- Layer it up! Iowa has been experiencing negative temperatures this season. Pick up a pack of those handy activated hand warmers!
- You don’t need fancy equipment for bird watching! Binoculars or the naked eye will serve you well.
- Can’t believe we have to say this one, but DO NOT try to chase the eagles! No close up photo for Instagram is worth the consequences.
If you’d prefer to observe with a pro, come to the LeClaire Civic Center at 2 pm on January 14th for Bald Eagle Day where local wildlife photographer Burt Gearhart will take you to Lock & Dam No. 14 to view and photograph the eagles!
All that bird watching is going work up your appetite for something hot. Swap out those binoculars for a fork and follow us to a party on downtown Main Steet for “Taste of LeClaire.”
To help combat cabin fever that sets in during this season, select businesses all around the Quad City area are offering coupons and specials–inviting locals to come out and stretch their legs and “Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard.” LeClaire is set to host its own FREE event on January 14th from 1-4pm called “Taste of LeClaire”. There will be food and beverage samples from various shops and specials at several restaurants and bars! Grab details for the Bald Eagle Day and Taste of LeClaire HERE.
We’ll have the heat on for ya! Safe travels and we’ll see y’all when you get here!
Eagle photography provided by Burt Gearhart