OUTSOAR – A near-record number of bald eagles have gathered at Lake Coeur d’Alene in time for the 26th annual Eagle Watch week sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game Tuesday through Saturday.
On Thursday morning, Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist, counted 261 eagles in Wolf Lodge Bay, including Higgens Point and Beauty Bay areas, up from 213 two weeks ago. During the first survey of the season on Nov. 20 she counted just 26 bald eagles.
A record 273 bald eagles were counted at Lake Coeur d’Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.
Hugo’s count this week included 222 adults and 39 juveniles with 104 eagles in the Beauty Bay area near Mineral Ridge boat launch, one of several popular CdA eagle viewing areas.
The annual Eagle Watch event is keyed to the holiday break and the peak of the kokanee spawning that lures bald eagles to the northeast area of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Idaho Fish and Game fish managers say the kokanee are spawning in the highest numbers in 20 years.
Each day during Eagle Watch week the two Mineral Ridge parking areas will be the hub of activity. High-power spotting scopes will be set up in these prime eagle viewing spots, along with interpretive displays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The event ends at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Eagle “ambassadors” will be at the sites each day to show mounted birds and answer questions regarding the life ways and habitat of bald eagles, our national symbol.
Eagle watching visitors must use designated parking areas. Parking is not allowed along SR 97.
If bad weather moves in, call for updates on Eagle Watch week, (208) 769-5048 after 9 a.m.
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