Eagles, particularly of the bald variety, are not an uncommon sight around Homer (or Alaska, for that matter). In the winter months in particular, the local population is large. I’ve heard that a significant number of published bald eagle photos have been taken here, and that seems believable. In mid-December, we had a sunny afternoon and decided to go exploring. We brought the camera along, and ended up on the Spit. That day we saw nearly a dozen eagles as we drove down the road.
We thought this next one, perched atop the Salty Dawg Saloon, almost looked like a golden eagle. It was massive in size, and from the ground it was difficult to get a good look. Upon closer inspection of the pictures, though, it appears to be a juvenile bald eagle. Either way, it was one big bird.
Since this is our first winter here, we don’t have much to compare it to, but based on comments on some of the local Facebook pages, it sounds like the numbers are up this year. We’ve been experiencing a significant common murre die off this year in Kachemak Bay, and it seems the eagles are here to enjoy the easy feasting.
Our current numbers pale in comparison, though, to what they were seven years ago. The list of local celebrities would have to include Jean Keene aka The Eagle Lady, a Homer resident who passed away in 2009 (and apparently moved up here from Aitken, MN…small world!). Jean was famous for feeding the bald eagles on the Spit in the winter months. Over time, she was attracting 200-300 eagles for feedings of 500 pounds of fish and the occasional road kill moose every day. As Little B loves to say, “Holy buckets!”
Even though they’re becoming a common sight for us the longer we’re here, I still find myself impressed by the size of these birds. They are huge, impressive creatures. Little B loves watching them, and frequently asks to see pictures of the eagles. Even though she’s seen the photos dozens of times, she still gets excited every single time. And when we’re out and about, she shouts out “Eagle!” with glee whenever she spots one.