The Merrimack River Eagle Festival

Occurred on March 5, 2016

Merrimack River Eagle Festival


Frequently Asked Questions

Presented by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Come to Newburyport and Amesbury on March 5 for a full day of free activities celebrating the return of our Bald Eagles!

Visit Eagle Hotspots    9:00 am–4:00 pm

Drive yourself! Naturalist guides will be onsite all day along the Merrimack River. Parking available. See map. All ages welcome.

Go on an Eagle Tour    9:00 am–2:00 pm

Let us drive you! Tours start every half hour and take 90 minutes to complete. Departure point: The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce. Advance registration required (978-462-9998). Adults and children age 6 and over. Suggested donation: $5.00 per person.

See a Raptor Show    10:00–11:00 am or 1:30–2:30 pm

Tom Ricardi of the Massachusetts Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Facility presents two educational programs at Newburyport City Hall featuring raptors great and small. First come, first served. Recommended for adults and children age 6 and over.

Pose for a Photo with a Raptor  11:15–11:45 am or 12:30–1:00 pm

Hunt’s Photo & Video will take your photo with a raptor for a $10 donation. to the Eagle Festival. Newburyport City Hall. Limited availability. Advance registration recommended (978-462-9998). Otherwise, first come, first served.

Have Fun with Your Family   10:00 am–3:00 pm

At the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters:

Family activities, arts and crafts, and more! Special features: Live owls from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm (11:00 – 3:00).

At the Joppa Flats Education Center:

Family activities, arts and crafts, and more! Special feature: Live hawks from Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm (11:00 – 3:00).

Visit Plum Island  10:00 am–3:00 pm

Drive out to Plum Island for more wildlife viewing with the help of naturalist guides. At the north end of Northern Boulevard, see seals and sea ducks at the mouth of the Merrimack River. Or drive south on Sunset Drive into the Refuge (free entry if you’re there for Eagle Fest), then 2.5 miles farther to the North Pool Overlook to see wintering ducks and possibly a snowy owl.

Find Eagle Festival Information   8:30 am–4:00 pm

Eagle Festival information will be available at all festival headquarter sites:

  • Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center: 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-462-9998
  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters: 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport
  • The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce: 38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport 978-462-6680
  • Newburyport City Hall: 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport
  • Lowell’s Boat Shop: 459 Main Street, Amesbury 978-834-0050

Additional Winter Bird Programs

Call Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats at 978-462-9998 for information or to register.

Wednesday Morning Birding
Wednesdays, 9:30-12:30. For adults. Preregistration not required.

Saturday Morning Birding
Saturdays, 9:00-11:30. For adults and children age 8 and up. Preregistration not required.

Bald Eagles of the Merrimack River
Sunday, February 28, 9:00-noon. For adults. Preregistration is required.

Birding the New Hampshire Coast
Sunday, March 6, 9:00-4:00. For adults. Preregistration is required.

Owls of the Salt Marshes and Forests
Saturday, March 12, 3:30-10:00 pm. For adults. Preregistration is required.

  Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center, located at One Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport, is a natural history education center that is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday and Monday holidays, 8:30 am–4:00 pm. Call 978-462-9998 for additional information, or visit the website at
  The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is operated by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge encompasses over two-thirds of Plum Island and consists of 4,662 acres of critical coastal habitats, including dunes, maritime forest, and salt marsh. The Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters, located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm and on the weekends from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Call 978-465-5753 for more information, or visit the refuge website at

Merrimack River Eagle Festival Founding Sponsor

Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank   

Additional Funding by


Merrimack River Eagle Festival Cooperating Partner

Hunts photo & video

Hunt’s Photo & Video

Newburyport Chamber of Commerce

Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce


Where to Eat, Stay, Shop

Annie’s – 11 Pleasant Street, Newburyport   978-462-5577  

Audubon Shop at Joppa Flats – 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport  978-462-9998

Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift – Route 1 Traffic Circle, Newburyport  978-462-0775 

Black Duck Market – 13 Federal Street, Newburyport  978-462-0323

Bob Lobster – 49 Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury  978-465-7100  Opening April 1.

Denise’s Flower Shop – 35 Pleasant Street, Newburyport  978-462-3409 

Essex Street Inn – 7 Essex Street, Newburyport   978-465-3148  

Fair Trade Treasures – 1 Merrimac Street, Unit 4, Newburyport  978-255-4843

The Grog – 13 Middle Street, Newburyport  978-465-8008  

Joppa Fine Foods – 50 Water Street, #305, Newburyport  978-462-4662  

Middle Street Foods – 25 Middle Street, Newburyport  978-375-1906  

The Natural Grocer – 334 High Street, Newburyport  978-463-8713

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt – 35 Market Square, Newburyport  978-462-3400  

Riverside Cycle 50 Water Street, The Tannery, Newburyport  978-465-5566

Merrimack River Eagle Festival Contributing Friends:

Eastern Mass Hawk Watch

Essex National Heritage Area  

Forest Pest Outreach, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Sarah Gnerre and Chris Mulligan

Harborside Printing Co. 


Newburyport Boat Basin 

Old South First Presbyterian Church