WILDLIFE WATCHING -- The annual fall-winter congregation of bald eagles at Lake Coeur d'Alene appears to have started, barely.
Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted three adult bald eagles in the Wolf Lodge Bay area on Tuesday during the first of the weekly bald eagle surveys she'll do this season.
The eagles provide 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.
- A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.
"There was no count this early last year because I was not here to count so I have no comparison," Hugo said, but she added that the eagle numbers can build rapidly. "The count on Nov. 20, 2012, was 64."
Most viewers drive to viewpoints at Higgens Point or from the Wolf Lodge Exit from Interstate 90.
However, eagle-watching cruise boat tours are scheduled in November and December leaving from the Coeur d'Alene Resort
Local veterans, active military and families from the North Idaho area will be honored on two admission-free cruises will be offered on Nov. 30 to local veterans, active military and their immediate families from the North Idaho area. The first two-hour cruise to the east end of Lake Coeur d'Alene will depart at 10 a.m. and the second two-hour cruise will leave at 1 p.m.
Reservations are required. Please call Suzanne Endsley at (208) 769-5004 during the business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to make a reservation.
Because the cruises fill quickly, the current status of available seating will be posted on the BLM's Coeur d'Alene District website.