Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skagit River Bald Eagles - They're Back!

The arrival of November in the Pacific Northwest means shorter, dreary days and noticeably colder weather, but it also signals the return of the Bald Eagles to the Skagit River.  The Skagit River is the largest bald eagle winter resort area in North America.  The eagles come south from Alaska and northern Canada for the warmer weather, large trees to lounge in and the all-you-can-eat salmon and steelhead buffet served up on the Skagit and its numerous tributaries.

Skagit River Bald Eagle in Winter
Fortunately for residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest the Skagit River eagle wintering area is only about 2 hours from the Seattle area.  A trip to the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area makes a great day trip.  It is possible to see the amazing spectacle of sometimes more than 100 eagles in a few short hours along a 10 mile stretch of the river.  Eagles can be viewed from several turn-outs along highway 20, but one of the most enjoyable ways to see the largest number of eagles up close is to take a float trip down the river with one of the professional river rafting companies.   The eagles start arriving in November and reach their peak numbers in late November and December.  They start to depart in January with most being gone by the end of February.  If your goal is to see the maximum number of bald eagles, the best time to see the most is by taking a trip to the Skagit in the next 2 months.  For more details see my Skagit River Bald Eagle Float Trip.