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Wednesday, February 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Eagles terrorize Sprague Lake coots

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- The winter ice cap was almost gone from Sprague Lake a few days ago, but this week's cold snap has reversed the trend -- and that's bad news for the coots that had taken up residence in the open waters. 

Here's the Saturday scoop just received from birder Greg Falco of Sprague:

Today Sprague Lake is almost all frozen (minus 12 for a low at my place).

There are about 5 small openings in the ice with ducks, mostly Common Goldeneye, tightly packed.   The coot flock was in one opening about 40 feet across, and getting smaller.

Twelve bald eagles were standing on the ice around the defenseless coots.  More balds were perched around the lake. 

Nothing scientific, but I’ll say the coot population has been reduced by more than 100 in the past week with about 50 birds left.  I’ll be surprised if any are left tomorrow.



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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