The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge will be conducting “In Search of Eagles” interpretive programs for the general public in January (check tour schedule for exact dates). Reservations are required and are taken on a first-come, first-served basis by calling 580-429-2197, weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on specified reservation dates. Participants will be taken by bus into the Special Use Area and will have an opportunity to search for bald and golden eagles which soar on warm afternoon air currents. As winter arrives, and weather turns cold in the northern states, eagles migrate south to find temperate feeding and roosting areas. The milder southwestern Oklahoma winters encourage eagles to utilize the Refuge. Bald eagles fish Refuge and surrounding lakes and golden eagles hunt the open prairies.
The public tour programs are led by interpreters of the Association of Friends of the Wichitas. Interpreters will help visitors understand eagle behavior and identify features of the birds. Tour-goers are advised that this program is designed specifically as an opportunity to view eagles and other bird species within a portion of the Special Use Area, rather than a general tour of the area. Participants should dress for cold, windy, damp weather. Binoculars are essential for accurate identification and viewing.
The interpretive program will begin at the Visitor Center located on the west side of the Refuge approximately six miles from the Visitor Center. Visitors may obtain a Refuge leaflet from one of the dispensers located at each of the five entrances. The Visitor Center location is noted on the leaflet map.
Each program will last approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Due to the length of the program, all children, including stand-bys, must be at least eight years of age to participate. Reservations will be retained on the day of the program until 10 minutes prior to tour departure. After that time, standbys will be accepted. If the bus seating capacity is filled after accepting standbys, late arrivals with reservations will not be able to participate in the program.
Interested persons are advised that the Refuge’s public interpretive programs are intended for individuals and family units. Only one family’s reservation will be accepted per telephone call. We regret we cannot offer group tours but invite all interested individuals to call for reservations. Reservations are required and may be made by telephoning the Visitor Center at (580) 429-2197 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Wheelchair access is available on a first-come, first-served basis if requested at the time of the reservation.