I grew up in the northwest. One of the coolest things my dad used to bring us to go see only happens once a year for month or two. If you want to see what I’m talking about, it is about to start but will be over before you know it.
ONLY ONCE A YEAR THEY GATHER. – Once a year from November to mid-December lots of American bald eagles gather just outside of Coeur d’Alene to feed on salmon. The US Bureau of Land Management says they started counting eagles in the area around 1974 but the amount gathering varies year to year. Sometimes there are hundreds, sometimes less than 40. On December 7, 2017, they spotted the largest gathering ever with 373 eagles. Last year the maximum number of eagles spotted in a day was 72. I remember counting over 100 when I went as a child.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM? – The directions are easy, although I haven’t been there since I was a kid. Go to “Higgins Point, Mineral Ridge Boat Ramp, Mineral Ridge Trailhead. Just go about 11 miles east of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Take US-90 east from Coeur d’Alene for eight miles to Wolf Lodge Bay (exit 22), then south on Highway 97 for three miles.” Make sure you drive slowly when you are out there, the road is narrow along the water. Is there anything else you need to know?
TIPS TO VIEWING THE EAGLES – Obviously dress warm, it will be fall and could be chilly by the water. Also come prepared to be there a while so bring some food and drinking water for yourself. The BLM had some other good ideas:
- Avoid disturbing the birds. Do not approach them on foot.
- Stay as far away from the birds as possible. Binoculars are essential.
- Stay in your vehicle if viewing nearby birds.
- Park off the main road
- Do not stop on the road or look for eagles while driving. Interstate 90 and Highway 97 are heavily traveled.
- Remember, it is illegal to stop in any traffic lane.
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