Last Updated on May 28 2015, 3:55 am CDT
Temperature: 68.0 F (20.0 C)
Visibility: 4.00 miles
8588 Route 148
Marion, IL 62959
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge will host guided eagle tours into the closed portion of the Refuge to potentially view active bald eagles and their nests. These tours are sponsored by the Friends of Crab Orchard, and are scheduled for January 24, 25, 31, and February 1. Volunteers will lead three tours on each Saturday at 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm, and Sunday tours will begin at 11am and 2pm. Sunday tours at 8:30am are available for interested scout groups. The tour begins at the Crab Orchard Visitor Center with a short talk about bald eagles, followed by the tour which should last approximately two hours. The tours will stop periodically so that visitors may get a closer look at wildlife, but little actual walking will be required.
Charges for the tours will remain at $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth under the age of 12. Tours for the Scout groups will be $1 per person. Fees will be collected in person the day of your reservation prior to the tour, so please arrive a few minutes early. Seating is limited, so please call 997-3344 extension 1 to reserve your seat.
The bald eagles that winter at Crab Orchard spend their summers in the northern United States and Canada. The numbers of eagles increase with the arrival of ducks and geese in the late fall. Eagle numbers are highest around New Year’s Day when thirty or more may be present on the Refuge. Four breeding pairs of eagles also reside at Crab Orchard year-round. Past Eagle Tour participants have been fortunate enough to observe 17 or more eagles in addition to a variety of other wildlife.
Located west of Marion, Illinois, on the northern edge of the Ozark foothills, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest refuges in the Great Lakes/Big Rivers Region. Established in 1947, the 43,890-acre Refuge includes three man-made lakes totaling 8,700 surface acres. The Refuge landscape also includes hardwood and pine forests, croplands, grasslands, wetlands, rolling hills, and rugged terrain with slopes of 24 percent. The 4,050-acre Crab Orchard Wilderness, the first wilderness area designated in the State of Illinois, is within the Refuge Crab Orchard Refuge is unique in the National Wildlife Refuge System in having an industrial program that the Refuge hosts an estimated 1.2 million visitors annually, and its recreation programs contribute $25 million to the local tourism economy. Public use opportunities at the Refuge include an auto tour route, hiking trails, hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation, boating, swimming, camping, and picnicking.