It’s 7 a.m., and six bald eagles are circling over Wolf Lodge Bay.
In the weak winter light, the snowy landscape has the starkness of a black-and-white photograph. The eagles are gliding silhouettes that bring toplofty adjectives like “majestic” and “regal” to mind.
But the aerial display is about a practical matter – breakfast. With eyes nearly as large as human eyes, and vision at least four times as keen, the bald eagles are scanning the surface of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
“All raptors have exceptional eyesight,” said Carrie Hugo, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist. “They’re looking for movement on the water.”
With a sudden swoop, an eagle skims the water, but leaves with empty talons. No kokanee salmon that time around.
The late run of kokanee in Wolf Lodge Bay is the main draw for the bald eagles, which are migrating south from Canada in search of open water. Some will winter in Oregon’s Klamath Basin. Others will head to Utah, Colorado or New Mexico. But along the way, the eagles feast on the oil-rich kokanee, gobbling up five to 10 of the quarter-pound fish daily.
Read the full story Saturday in The Spokesman-Review.