No, you can’t buy bald eagles cheaply next week, but with the US dollar going for 97.3 Canadian cents at banks today, getting to Haines, Alaska, to see the incredible Alaska Bald Eagle Festival is a bargain. It’s been a few years since I took Vancouver-area photographer friend Roy Luckow down, and I’m long over due for another trip. The photo here was taken on my trip with Roy – it’s okay, but I have much better photographic equipment now.
The gathering of eagles is truly a world-class natural event. Drawn by a late run of chum salmon, the number of eagles peaks in mid-November at between 3-4,000, varying quite a bit from year to year. Most of the birds congregate in a very short stretch of river just below the mouth of the Tsirku River. A huge reservoir of water far under the riverbed at that point keeps the river ice-free for most of the winter, allowing the salmon to spawn and the eagles to feed. The result is that you can see, from the side of the road, trees dripping with eagles and riverbanks covered with hundreds of them.
The Festival runs from November 7-11 this year – although there are lots of special events, I just might head down this weekend to avoid the crowds.