Besides Alaska, Illinois is home to the largest population of wintering bald eagles in the United States, and we are right in the middle of the prime time to see them. Better plan a road trip to one of these eagle hot spots now so you can witness the awesomeness for yourself.

My in-laws often take road trips to do bald eagle spotting this time of the year, and it is always something I have wanted to do too. If you head towards the western part of Illinois along the Mississippi River anytime between December and March, your odds of spotting bald eagles doing their thing in the wild is usually pretty high. There are also several cool events planned that feature our majestic state bird as the star attraction, and most are happening in January. Here's a few cool eagle spotting places you need to go this winter according to enjoyillinois.com.

  • Galena - Take a 4-hour bus tour along the Upper Mississippi to view hundred of bald eagles in their natural habitat. This tour is offered on January 21, February 11 and 25 in 2017. Get more info, or book your reservation here.
  • Peoria - The Forest Park Nature Center, Peoria Audubon Society and Wildlife Prairie Park all feature tours and events in the winter to celebrate the hundreds of bald eagles that winter in that area.
  • Alton - You can be just a few steps away from eagle watching action when you stay at the Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center which features a beautiful view of the Illinois River and hundreds of wintering eagles.
  • Oglesby - Starved Rock State Park hosts an Eagle Watch Weekend on January 28 and 29 which features fun family activities, "Birds of Prey" shows, and guided eagle viewing tour hikes.
  • Rock Island - Take a Bald Eagle Safari with spotting scopes to truly view these birds up close and personal.

Of course, if road tripping isn't really your thing, you can watch this live eagle cam from Decorah, Iowa and hope you get lucky.