Ever seen him up close?  Stern beak, piercing eyes, scaly talons as sharp as arrowheads.  Wings so grand, they’ve been seen swimming to shore with a heavy fish, using their 7′ wings as paddles!

Now imagine 3500 of them!

The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a 50,000 acre park in Alaska, located where the Tsirku and Chilkat Rivers converge, near the town of Haines, at the top of the Inside Passage.

Eagles are abundant throughout Alaska, so…
Why do such huge numbers converge on the Chilkat River in late Fall?

There is a unique upwelling of warm, percolating water that keeps the river mouth of the Chilkat from freezing!   This allows the eagles to feed on the late run of chum salmon in free-flowing water, and to make this area their winter home!
It also has allowed, for centuries, the river tribes of the Tlingit to thrive.  Their name for Chilkat means “storage place for salmon”, and for as long as anyone can remember, they called this gathering of eagles the “Council Grounds”.

This is the river mouth today.

Want to spend the week in mid-November with him?   You can roadtrip over on your own from Anchorage, or fly in and join a tour — let me show you how!

Photo credit to Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve