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Tue., Dec. 3, 2013, 2:59 p.m.

CdA bald eagle count booms from 11 to 57 in a week

Bald eagles are gathering at Lake Coeur d’Alene for their annual kokanee feast. (Associated Press)
Bald eagles are gathering at Lake Coeur d’Alene for their annual kokanee feast. (Associated Press)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Bald eagles are finally showing some interest in their traditional winter feast of spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted only 57 bald eagles today in the Wolf Lodge Bay area.  That's up from two eagles counted during her weekly survey two weeks ago and up from 11 counted last week.

However, the 57 eagles counted today -- 46 adults (white heads), 10 immatures (under 4 years old) and one unknown -- amount to less than half of the eagles counted in Wolf Lodge Bay last year at this time, Hugo said.

The eagles have provided a popular wildlife-viewing attraction as the birds are lured to the northeast corner of the lake from mid-November into January to feast on the spawning kokanee that stack up in the bay.

"Last year I counted 121 bald eagles -- 84 adults and 37 immature," Hugo said, noting that today's survey conditions were cold and windy and many eagles were soaring in the breeze. "Let's see if the cold snap this week freezes some lakes up north and sends a big pulse (of eagles) our way!"

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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