The Merrimack River Eagle Festival
February 8, 2014
Now in it ninth year, the annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival celebrates the pristine and restored habitat for the Bald Eagle. In 2005 the first pair of Bald Eagles returned to the lower Merrimack River Valley and built their nest known in the lower Merrimack River Valley; now there are four known nesting pairs in the region. The past few weeks has offered prime viewing of the eagles. Bill Gette, sanctuary director at the Joppa Flats Education Center, reported to The Newburyport Daily News that both adult and immature birds have been spotted all along the lower Merrimack River in the past two weeks. The mature males and females are unmistakable with their white heads and tails, while the young ones are primarily brown.
Gette reports that, “The Merrimack River in winter really sucks in eagles. I would predict that this is a big year for them on the Merrimack, and the reason for that is the polar vortex. You get all that really cold weather, and it freezes everything up north.”
The Festival is presented by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and includes a full day of great activities, including:
Visit Eagle Hotspots 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Go on an Eagle Tour 9:00 am–2:00 pm
Pose for a Photo with a Raptor 11:15 am–11:45 am or 12:30 pm–1:00 pm
On February 8th, Eagle Festival information will be available at all festival headquarter sites from 8:30–4pm.
- Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center: 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-462-9998
- Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters: 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-465-5753
- The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce: 38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport 978-462-6680
- Newburyport City Hall: 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport
- Lowell’s Boat Shop: 459 Main Street, Amesbury 978-834-0050