From December through February, Missouri’s winter eagle watching is spectacular.

Missourians can discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through Eagle Days events around the state, or enjoy eagle viewing on your own.

Because of the state’s big rivers, many lakes, and abundant wetlands, Missouri is one of the leading lower 48 states for bald eagle viewing.

Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in the Show-Me State. Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plentiful food. More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter.

MDC Eagle Days events are listed below. They include live captive-eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos, and guides with spotting scopes.

Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge. View them early in the morning to see eagles flying and fishing. Be sure to dress for winter weather and don’t forget cameras and binoculars.

Eagle watching events coming up include:

• KANSAS CITY: Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Jan. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Smithville Lake Paradise Pointe Golf Course Clubhouse north of Kansas City. Call (816) 532-0174 for more info.

• ST. LOUIS: Jan. 14 and 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge south of I-270 off Riverview Drive in St. Louis. Call (314) 877-6014 for more info.

• SPRINGFIELD: Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Jan. 22 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the MDC Springfield Conservation Nature Center with viewing opportunities at the nearby Lake Springfield Boathouse and Marina. Call (417) 888-4237 for more information.

• JEFFERSON CITY: Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City with wild eagle viewing at the nearby Marion Access. Call (573) 526-5544 for more information.

• CLARKSVILLE: Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lock and Dam 24 and Apple Shed Theater in Clarksville. Call (660) 785-2420 for more information.

• PUXICO: Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge near Puxico. Call (573) 222-3589 for more information.

Can’t make an Eagle Days event? Other hot spots for winter eagle viewing include:

• Lake of the Ozarks at Bagnell Dam Access east of Bagnell.

• Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area on Route K southwest of Columbia.

• Lock & Dam 20 at Canton.

• Lock & Dam 24 at Clarksville.

• Lock & Dam 25 east of Winfield.

• Mingo National Wildlife Refuge north of Puxico on Highway 51.

• Moses Eagle Park at Stella.

• Old Chain of Rocks Bridge south of I-270, off of Riverview Drive in St. Louis.

• Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary east of West Alton.

• Schell-Osage Conservation Area north of El Dorado Springs.

• Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge south of Mound City.

• Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge south of Sumner.

• Table Rock Lake southwest of Branson.

• Truman Reservoir west of Warsaw.