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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Almanac: Bald Eagles

Air Date: Week of

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This week, facts about the world's largest gathering of bald eagles. Every year around this time, Haines, Alaska hosts more than 3,000 eagles on the prowl for their favorite catch: chum salmon.


CURWOOD: It's Living On Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.


CURWOOD: Getting a gander at a wild bald eagle can be a once in a lifetime experience for many folks. So imagine seeing about 3,000 of the majestic birds in a day. If you head up to Haines, Alaska this week, you'll be just in time to observe the world's largest gathering of bald eagles.

As winter begins and lakes and rivers freeze over, eagles migrate south to find their favorite food: fresh salmon. One five-mile stretch of the Chilkat River is the perfect stop-over for a salmon feast. It's here in the ice-free shallows that the king, sock-eye, and silver salmon come to spawn. And when they do, thousands of eagles wait on sandbars and in cottonwood trees, poised to snatch breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of the water.

Last year, one Haines resident reported seeing as many as 10 eagles perched on a log, wing to wing. Another witnessed as many as 20 eagles in a single tree. And you can leave your binoculars at home. Recently, from just 40 yards away, one ranger counted up to 800 eagles in one sitting. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.





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