Tours that Soar! Eagle Watching in Connecticut Last Updated 1/18
When you see an American Bald Eagle in person, you immediately understand why this majestic creature is such a symbol of our national pride. And seeing one is easier than you think, because Connecticut is the winter home of eagles who travel south from Maine and Canada when their habitats freeze over. They come here to feed, and can be found nesting along our major rivers and at large reservoirs. And as the eagles mate in January here, you’re more likely to see a pair or a nest alongside the water, where they can easily find fish.
These tour operators and wildlife experts know where the nests are, when the birds are active and the best ways to view them — from the water, from the trail, even from a train! Most eagle watching tours need reservations, so be sure to visit the links below for tour times and directions, or search "eagles" on our Events page for upcoming tours and activities.
From the Water
See eagles soar, perch or even hunt for food along the Connecticut River on the deck of Connecticut River Expeditions’ RiverQuest. Departing from Essex's Connecticut River Museum, these Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises pass by three bald eagle nests along the Connecticut River on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through mid-March. Hosted by naturalists, the tours have seen everything from eagles, seals and hawks to fox, deer and even a bobcat.
From the Shore
Located along the Connecticut River in Haddam, Eagle Landing State Park offers benches, docks and walkways along the river that often reward patient visitors with glimpses of bald eagles in flight. Dress warm and bring binoculars for the best chance of spotting one.
Or, bundle up and head out on the trail to look for eagles at The Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observation Center in Southbury. Open limited days through March 11, the observatory is located at Connecticut’s largest hydroelectric dam, (and not far from the Lake Lilinonah Trail.) You will need a reservation to visit the eagle viewing area, and visitors can make reservations to visit between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The dam averaged more than five eagle sightings a day during last year’s observation season!
From a Train
If you’d like to look for eagles while enjoying the comforts of a vintage rail car as it tracks alongside the Connecticut River, The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat will run Eagle Flyer trips starting in February. Passengers can look for eagles and other wildlife while engaging with onboard wildlife conservationists.
Make it a Weekend!
Looking for a place to stay close to these eagle watching spots? check into one of these hotels, inns or B&Bs:
Extend Your Visit
Got a little more time? Plan a two-day wildlife excursion and meet the seals of Long Island Sound with this suggested eagle- and seal-spotting getaway!