8th Annual Eagle Expo & More - 2013

Speakers, Live Raptors, Workshops and Boat Tours to Highlight

8th Annual Eagle Expo and More

            MORGAN CITY - The 8th Annual Eagle Expo and More, scheduled February 28 – March 2, 2013 in Morgan City, Louisiana, will feature seminars from wildlife and nature experts, a live raptor presentation, boat tours to view eagles, and opportunities to meet fellow birders.           

            Heading into its eighth successful year, the Eagle Expo is a tribute to the return of the American Bald Eagle to Louisiana, which was removed from the endangered species list in June 2007. Laws banning the use of harmful pesticides such as DDT and greater public awareness and education have increased the bald eagle population throughout Louisiana and the United States. Currently, there are 284 active nests in Louisiana with a large concentration in the St. Mary and Terrebonne Parish areas.         

            This year’s Expo will include a presentation by WINGS TO SOAR on Thursday, February 28th, from 6 – 7:30 pm at the Patterson Civic Center.  This presentation is a lively and informational presentation showcasing a variety of live raptors including a Falcon, Hawk, Owl, Black Vulture and Bald Eagle. Private schools, parochial schools and home schooled students will have the opportunity to attend a WINGS TO SOAR presentation, Wednesday, February 27th at the Patterson Civic Center at 10 am. There is no charge to attend, but reservations are required. WINGS TO SOAR will also visit the following schools: Franklin Junior High, Morgan City Junior High, Berwick Junior High, and Patterson Junior High.

            A photography workshop taught by renowned wildlife photographer CC Lockwood will be held on Friday, March 1, 2013. CC Lockwood is known for his numerous publications and books, especially his eleventh book, Marsh Mission, which brought attention to the crisis of the vanishing Gulf Coast wetlands. His photography has been featured in prominent publications such as the Smithsonian Magazine and National Geographic Magazine. The workshop includes a seminar at 9 am at the Atchafalaya at Idlewild Golf Course’s Club House, with a field trip to Bayou Black beginning at 12 noon. A boat tour in Bayou Black will focus on birding and marsh landscapes. The workshop requires separate registration and payment of $195.00. Contact CC Lockwood at www.cclockwood.com or call 225-769-4766 to register.  Space is limited.        

            Tours to view eagles will take place Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2nd.  Featured waterways include the Atchafalaya Basin, Lake Verret, Turtle Bayou, Bayou Black, and Bayou Long.  Tours will be at 9 – 11 am and 1 – 3 pm on Friday, and 9 – 11 am and 2:30 – 4 pm on Saturday. Each featured boat tour offers something different to attendees.

            The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest overflow swamp in the U.S. with 10 distinct aquatic & terrestrial habitats. Home to over 170 bird species, 50 mammalian species, 40 reptilian, 20 amphibian species and 100 species of fin fish and shellfish, the basin offers more than just eagles.

            The Bayou Black Tour meanders through old oil and gas canals. Birds of prey including Bald Eagles, Ospreys and various species of hawks call this place home.  Other birds likely to be encountered include various species of ducks, wading birds and song bird species. 

            Lake Verret and Bayou Magazille highlight another part of the basin spillway.  Past participants have seen Bald Eagles and Osprey soaring overhead, fishing, or resting on treetops along the waters edge. Other wildlife including Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, White Ibis, Belted Kingfisher, Red-tailed Hawks, Double-crested Cormorants, Anhinga, the American White Pelicans and an occasional Peregrine Falcon have been seen.    

            The Turtle Bayou Tour includes two small natural bayous that provide for fantastic views and local wildlife.  Aside from eagles other birds likely to be encountered include Anhingas, Double-crested Cormorants, Red-shouldered Hawks, White Ibis, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Carolina Chickadees and various species of terns and gulls. 

            The Bayou Long Tour includes various waterways including Lake Verret, Bayou Magazille, Fourmile Bayou, Grassy Lake, Bayou Cherami, Bayou Milhomme, and Lake Palourde. On this tour you will be able to view Bald Eagles and their nests, Blue Heron, Great Egret, Belted Kingfisher, White Ibis, and various species of birds.

            Friday evening will feature a dinner and a presentation by photographer and author, Tim Mueller, at the Petroleum Club of Morgan City from 6 – 8:30 pm. Tim Mueller, is a Baton Rouge -based photographer. His photographic experience began at the University of Missouri and was developed while working many years as a photojournalist at The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. Portraiture, editorial and corporate assignments fuel Tim’s professional life, but what he really likes to do is get out and capture the richness, diversity and joie de vivre of Louisiana’s people and places. Sharing this richness is the intention of his blog as Tim reveals on assignment insight and stories about all things Louisiana. Tim and his wife, Risa coauthored a book together, Nations Within: The Four Sovereign Tribes of Louisiana. The public is also invited to the dinner and presentation. Cost is $33.00 per person.

            Saturday, March 2nd, will feature a variety of speakers in the morning with boat tours in the afternoon. Speakers for the morning seminars will include: Darlene Eschete, David Hancock, Nickolas R. Smith, and David Muth.  

            Darlene Eschete, an award winning wildlife and nature photographer loves being out in nature studying wildlife and photographing the unique habits of birds, reptiles and other mammals. She has a particular interest in eagles, pelicans and spoonbills. Mrs. Eschete is a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography and owns Bayou Belle Photography in Bourg, Louisiana. She has exhibited her work in many local venues along with many solo exhibits in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Recently, her photographs were included in an exhibit in New York City. Currently, Mrs. Eschete is focusing her work on combining video footage with still photography to bring motion and sound to her slide-shows. These slide-shows depict, in the still-photography, the images that the eye misses with videography but also brings you the motion, sound and unique habits that birds sometimes exhibit in the video footage that still-photography alone can not convey.

            David Hancock is a noted biologist, conservationist, writer, publisher and lecturer. He has spent most of his life studying west coast and arctic wildlife. He has published scientific and popular books and papers on whales, seals, seabirds, grouse and his specialty, the northern raptors. Prior to starting Hancock House Publishers he was a pilot and wildlife film producer, specializing in the native cultures and wildlife of the coast and north. He recently completed a book on eagles, The Bald Eagle of Alaska, BC and Washington and another book on the northwest coast Indians, Tlingit: Their Art and Culture. He also has a book on the Alaska-Yukon wildflowers. Currently he is undertaking studies of the bald eagles along the northwest coast and working on a sand hill crane breeding project.

            Nickolas R. Smith is with the USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. He will discuss the marking and satellite tracking of Louisiana Bald Eagles. He will also explain the methods he uses to capture and mark the eagles. He will then present some preliminary results provided from their satellite GPS transmitters.  This will include their previously undocumented summer migration north to Canada and their subsequent return to Louisiana.

            David Muth is the NWF Program Director of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign. He will present the campaign’s joint effort among a number of organizations that are working together to find and seek consensus and national support for an ecologically sound and sustainable program to restore the flow of the Mississippi River to its dying delta, and to do so in a way that preserves the communities and culture of coastal Louisiana to the maximum extent possible.

            Full registration includes the seminars Saturday morning, breakfast Saturday morning, a t-shirt, one boat tour, and the SOAR presentation on Thursday evening.  Registration fees are $100.00 to $125.00.  One day registration includes one boat tour (Saturday Only), breakfast and all seminars on Saturday.  The fee is $75.00 to $100.00 per person.  Boat tours only are $45 per person.  Registration fees for children are available.     

            The Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau has partnered with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, LSU Museum of Natural Science, Conrad Industries, Johnny’s Propeller Shop, the Audubon Society, LUMCON, America’s Wetland Foundation, Buquet Distributing, and B & G Foods to showcase not only the American Bald Eagle, but the numerous species of birds and wildlife found within the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding areas.

            For a complete event schedule, costs, registration forms and listings of hotel rates, contact the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau at 985-395-4905, visit online at www.cajuncoast.com/eagleexpo or email info@cajuncoast.com.