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A Winter Canoe Trip in Arkansas to Watch Bald Eagles

Updated on January 25, 2012

Some people might find the idea of winter canoeing absurd, but when my father got word that the bald eagles were active on the Kings River in Arkansas we just had to go. My father orchestrated a trip and early the next morning along with a few friends we loaded up and headed to a spot on the Kings River in Arkansas just south of the Missouri state line out in the middle of the country.

Despite the forecast baring bad omens of cold wind and possible thunderstorms we weren't to be deterred and decided to press on. After a little over an hour drive through old highways, we found ourselves traveling through a winding series of dirt roads, we made our way to a small hidden away public access site.

The Bald Eagles

I am not a subject matter expert on bald eagle and I am not familiar with many places that a person can go watch bald eagles in the wild in their natural habitat. Bald eagles spent many years on the Endangered Species List and then on the Threatened Species List until 2007 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association determined that they exist all across the country in strong numbers. Bald Eagles tend to stay near bodies of water, and the Kings River in Arkansas tends to have a high population of them during winter and spring.

We weren't on the river very long when we started seeing them soaring around us. Throughout the entire trip down the river we could almost always see two or three flying overhead and out in front of us. They would perch on giant leaf less trees and could be viewed from a great distance, and as our canoes would float close they would spread their massive wings and take flight. I would roughly estimate that throughout the day we saw somewhere between twenty and thirty of the amazing birds.

Other Wildlife

I didn't figure that we would see a lot of other wildlife in the middle of January but we did see a few other different species of birds, a couple of turtles, and one coyote we must have spooked from hiding as we went by. The coyote jumped up and ran a long the cliff line until disappearing from site.

The River

The Kings RIver is a beautiful river thats perfect for a quiet float trip through nature and/or fishing. When I was a child we used to canoe it regularly, but we don't live as close anymore so this was the first time I had floated it in many years. I was pleased to find that it was still a very nice float trip.

The fishing wasn't worth talking about. I hear tales about people that have a lot of success fishing rivers during the winter, but I'm not one of them. During the warmer times of year the Kings River is great for fishing however.

The Weather

At the beginning of the trip the sky was gloomy and it was a little bit chilly. Halfway through the trip the sun came out though and we got about an hour of warmth, but towards the end the sky darkened and the temperature dropped again and it looked as though it might start raining. Fortunately it didn't and we were able to get back to shore without suffering much cold weather.

We really couldn't have asked for better weather for the trip and fortunately no one ended up falling in the water, so no one had to suffer the extreme winter cold. I have to say this was a fun trip overall, and an interesting experience.

Effects of the flooding last spring I would assume.
Effects of the flooding last spring I would assume.

The Pictures

The river pictures are from the trip, but the picture of the coyote and eagles are not. Hopefully I will be able to procure some of the eagle pictures from the trip in the near future.


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    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      They are indeed Daffy! It was pretty cool getting to see a lot of them out in the wild like that!

      This was the first winter trip I've ever done myself dmop. I expected to be miserable and shivering the entire time, but it actually turned out to be a pretty decent day.

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 6 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Nice Hub, Thank you for sharing. I'm not much of one to do a lot outdoors in the winter, but I love floating down a calm river, and enjoying the scenery and solitude. Sounds like a very pleasant relaxing trip.

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 6 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      I've seen a couple of Bald Eagles. I saw 1 at Mt St Helens and another 2 at a local lake. They are beautiful birds.