Eagles of the Chilkat River

Bald eagles are known to many by their ability to soar to great heights, by their keen eyesight and by their ability to swoop down to snatch a fish.  They wield tremendous control over their powerful wings, including remarkably fine-tuned control over their 7,000+ feathers.

Many experience the eagle as a solitary bird, soaring high above, or perhaps perched in a distant tree.

However, there are notable exceptions in places and times, where eagles congregate in large numbers, find mates for life, joust with rivals and actively communicate with each other with a wide variety of calls. The Chilkat River in Alaska in late Fall and early Winter is a place and time to experience a remarkable gathering of eagles. Each year, over 3,000 eagles come to a confluence of the clear Tsikru and glacial Chilkat rivers to feed on a late season run of chum salmon.

Traveling to the Chilkat to spend time with and photograph these eagles is a wonderful adventure, which I have had the good fortune to have experienced, once in October of 2013 and again in November of 2022. The following video was created from this most recent trip, starting with the ferry traveling up the inland passage from Juneau to Haines, and spending eight days with the eagles under a wide range of weather conditions.

Click the following image to view this video.

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