The National Eagle Center is a Winter Birding Paradise

Updated: Sep. 30, 2022

Explore this unexpected winter birding hotspot in Minnesota. Find out why birders should visit the National Eagle Center.

Visit the National Eagle Center in Minnesota

national eagle centerChaithanya Krishnan/Getty Images
Bald eagle in Wabasha, Minnesota

Wabasha, home of the National Eagle Center, is a small town in southern Minnesota, but it is a prime place to see eagles. The local bird population is quite large, and these breathtaking fliers nest in the area’s tall trees (psst—see what a bald eagle nest looks like). They also flock here for the cold months to take advantage of the Mississippi River, which continues to flow even in the depths of winter, creating pockets of open water where the birds can fish. You can see bald eagles in the wild on a guided field trip, or stay indoors to sneak a peek at the three adults who reside at the center.

Here are four terrific ways to see birds at the National Eagle Center.

Go Eagle Watching

Bnbbyc16 Troy Marcy 001 (1)Courtesy Troy Marcy
During winter, look for eagles along the Mississippi River.

Pack your parka! Winter is the best time to visit because there’s an influx of migrating eagles. Take a chilly Saturday afternoon to go on a guided field trip. Hosts take visitors around the Mississippi River valley’s hotspots looking for bald or golden eagles in the wild.

Don’t miss these stunning and inspiring bald eagle pictures.

Meet Eagle Ambassadors

Killian DonaldJan Killian & National Eagle Center
A golden eagle ambassador at the National Eagle Center in Minnesota

Attend open-air presentations and stand within 4 or 5 feet of golden and bald eagles. The birds, which were found injured in the wild and can’t be released, are tethered so visitors can observe their majesty without glass getting in the way. Don’t miss meeting these eagle ambassadors at the center.

Check out more birding hotspots for incredible winter birds.

Learn About Eagles

277701499 1 Nancy Schindler Tommerdahl Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Nancy Schindler Tommerdahl
Ask naturalists and birding experts all of your questions about eagles.

Explore the two floors of interactive exhibits, and then grab your camera and get a front-row seat at the daily classroom presentations. Naturalists talk about eagles’ behavior, habitat, life cycle and recovery story, all while you watch an eagle eat its lunch. Prepare for your trip these interesting bald eagle facts.

Next, discover 4 reasons you should escape to Voyageurs National Park.