The Kinzua Dam will be host to the annual Eagle Watch Day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.
When the cold expanse of Allegheny Reservoir behind the dam freezes over and ice forms downstream in Allegheny River, the open tailwaters below the dam become prime fishing waters for eagles.
On a wintry day during February 2012, nearly 500 visitors to Big Bend Recreation Area viewed juvenile and adult eagles, just downstream from the dam. Other wintering birds and cold-water creatures were also observed.
Sponsors include US Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council, Kinzua Cachers, Allegheny Outdoor Club, and Eagles Club, Warren Aerie 313.
In addition to wildlife observation, activities include an audio-visual program detailing eagle restoration efforts presented by David Donachy, Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer, and a geomeet - "Caching with Eagles" - organized by Kinzua Cachers. Several temporary caches will be set up around the recreation area.
"It was an excellent event," said Steve Lauser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park ranger of the 2012 watch day. "Visitors were thrilled to see eagles and walk on the dam. They loved the eagle program too. We had people sign the visitor log who had travelled from metro areas near Cleveland and Pittsburgh; Erie and nearby northwestern Pennsylvania towns; Portville, Dunkirk and Mayville."
Three public areas of interest will be open for public viewing and learning about America's national bird: the Big Bend Visitor Center, Riverside Watchable Wildlife Trail and Viewing Platform located along Allegheny River tailwaters, and Kinzua Dam road. Observation stations will be manned and spotting scopes will be available to better observe the eagles. Persons 18 years of age and older will be required to show identification to gain access to the road at the dam.
The program is recreational, observational, educational and free to the public.
For more information, call Lauser at 814-726-0661 or Bill Massa of the Allegheny Outdoor Club at 814-723-2568.