Count-down 41 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure
When I was little my mom used to read me a book called Keeko, where this little Native American boy falls from a cliff and his friend Mrs. Eagle catches him on her back, flying him to safety. I was enchanted. Anytime I saw a large bird in our yard, I would run to it thinking I could coax it to let me ride its back. I wanted to soar among the clouds with it. I never caught one. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I was probably too heavy for a bird to fly with me.
If I could choose to be any animal I would be an eagle. To surf the wind currents high above the trees and gaze at the beauty below.
Maybe I can’t be an eagle, but in Alaska I should be able to see a lot of them. Currently there are around 50,000 Bald Eagles in Alaska, which is the largest population in America. Every fall, around 3,000 Bald Eagles congregate at a preserve in Haines, Alaska. They meet there because of a strange phenomenon where warm water seeps up to the surface of the Chilkat River keeping it from freezing which allows salmon to run late into the year. The eagles come to feed on the salmon.
Fish is the main dish in their diet, though they will eat other small mammals and carrion when fish are scarce. They can only carry about 5 lbs worth of food but have been seen swimming with heavier fish by paddling with their powerful wings. I’d love to see an eagle swimming!
Bringing fish and other prey to their young in the nest sparked a Native Athabascan myth. It says the eagle delivers people from famine by bringing salmon, sea lions and even whales to shore. They do this to repay a prince who thoughtfully shared his salmon with an eagle.
If I get the chance, I will share a salmon with the great bird as well.
To read more about eagles check out American Bald Eagle Foundation and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Have a great weekend!