The season for watching bald eagles has arrived. They come down from Canada and Alaska every winter to feed on the abundant salmon available to them in the Nooksack and Skagit Rivers.
I saw an eagle just the other day flying over Fairhaven. A great place to see the Eagles is along the Skagit river along Highway 20, the North Cascades highway, between Concrete and Marblemount. There is a great lookout just above Rockport.
This weekend January 24th and 25th is the Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival where you can learn about Eagles at the interpretive center, hear speakers, get entertained, and watch eagles. If you’re really adventurous you can take a float trip down the Skagit.
Bald eagles are abundant here. They eat the chum salmon from the gravel bars. They sit in trees sometimes with their wings spread to dry their feathers after a morning’s feeding. After every bend in the river, you can look for their white heads (“balde” is Old English for “white”), sitting among the cedars, firs and alders.
I did a few years ago it was awesome experience. We saw lots of the lots of Eagles, several trees with 5 or 6 eagles sitting in them. Be prepared for the cold weather if you do decide to do a river trip.
I did raft trip about 20 years ago on the Nooksack river on New Year’s Day. We counted over 200 Eagles that day, about 100 of them were in a half a mile stretch of the river and we saw one tree that had at least 25 Eagles sitting in. It was truly amazing.
Image courtesy of flickr.com by by Velo Steve