Bald Eagle Days showcase area conservation efforts during Rock Island event

ROCK ISLAND -

Youngsters from Alwood School were among the students admiring birds of prey from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis.

"It was really cool," said sixth grader Gavin VerHeecke.  "It was just amazing how the Bald Eagle looks."

Amazing for kids to get a special preview of Bald Eagle Days.  The annual celebration of wildlife takes place from January 5-7, 2018, at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.

Just watching the kids light up with enthusiasm impressed presenter Kelsey McCord.

"It's exactly why I do what I do," she said. "My biggest passion is birds. Getting to share that passion, see their eyes light up and those great big grins is exactly why I do what I do."

Students and teachers were making the rounds on Friday, January 5, sampling the shows and exhibits.

"I absolutely love it," said Alwood teacher Rhonda McKinley.  "It's exciting to actually get the hands-on, see the birds, learn about predator versus prey, DDT and the history.  It's awesome, wonderful."

There are literally hundreds of bald eagles near the Mississippi River this winter. That's heartwarming for those who have toiled to save them.

"It's a really cool experience, especially when they're nesting and roosting," McCord continued.  "It's really cool to see America's national symbol right there in your backyard."

Bald Eagle Days will be open to the public on Friday (4-8), Saturday (10-8) and Sunday 10-5.  Admission is $6 for adults. Kids 6-15 pay a buck and younger than that get in for free.

You'll find the QCCA Expo Center at 2621 4th Avenue in Rock Island.