The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turned its annual Eagle Day into a virtual experience this year for families who still want to get outside, try to spot an eagle and learn about the creatures.
Eagle Day, which normally features a presentation with live birds and another about bald eagles in Kansas, is available through smart phones for the coronavirus era as part of the new Virtual Ranger program. Corps of Engineer Ranger Angelia Lentz said even though they couldn’t host people in person, they still wanted to encourage people to get into the parks and to educate them about bald eagles.
“We wanted people to still enjoy the birds,” Lentz said. “Numbers are up so we want to encourage them look. We want to provide it in a format that could still encourage social distancing and still provide good information.”
Rangers set up stations at five locations around Tuttle Creek Lake. A map of the stations is available on the Tuttle Creek Lake website. Each station has a sign with QR codes to scan with a smart phone.
The links take the visitor to videos, including one made by staff at the Milford Nature Center and another of a bald eagle treated at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine, or to more detailed reading material about the birds. They cover topics like nesting, diet, eagle spotting and their calls.
Lentz said they tried to provide some information that was short and quick and some that went a little deeper so families could have the most enjoyable experience for them.
“We tried to keep it pretty basic to make sure it can be provided in a short time,” Lentz said. “If you’re out with the family they will keep everyone’s attention.”
Eagle Day is the first event in the new Virtual Ranger program. Lentz said they are planning a wildflower walk for the spring and plan to create another on the history of Tuttle Creek Lake. Eagle Day signs will be posted until Feb. 1.
“Hopefully everybody will see something they find interesting,” Lentz said.