WILDLIFE WATCHING — The annual bald eagle gathering at Lake Coeur d'Alene continues to grow, with plenty of birds for viewing as “eagle ambassadors” gear up for the annual Eagle Watch Week activities during the holiday school break.
Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted 129 bald eagles today in the Wolf Lodge Bay area. That's up from 86 eagles counted last week and up from 57 eagles counted two weeks ago during her weekly survey.
For decades, 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.
Eagle numbers are down from the past few years. Today's count of 129 eagles compares with 260 during the same week last year, Hugo said.
“At any rate, they are increasing and I saw floating kokanee and a good amount of fishing so there is still plenty of high quality viewing out there,” she said “At one point there were 17 eagles soaring between Wolf Point and Higgens Point.”
- A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.
EAGLE WATCH WEEK
The annual Eagle Watch Week, Dec. 26-30, is a good time to bring the family out for eagle viewing to take advantage of display and spotting scopes set up by people who know a lot about eagles.
The activity is based at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Mineral Ridge boat launch and trailhead on SR 97 south of I-90 from the Wolf Lodge Exit.
Beginning Dec. 26, the BLM will partner with Idaho Department of Fish and Game and other “eagle ambassadors” to answer questions about bald eagles, their lifestyles and habits and assist visitors with high-powered spotting scopes.
In case of severe weather, check the “Eagle Watch Hotline” —(208) 769-5048 after 9 a.m., Dec. 26-30 — to be sure activities have not been curtailed.
SHARE YOUR EAGLE PHOTOS
The Spokesman-Review has set up a web page where readers can upload some of the great images they're snapping of eagles at Lake Coeur d'Alene. Check it out, especially Tim Colquhoun's map of the best eagle viewing areas at the northeast end of the lake.