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Watchable Wildlife: Bald Eagles

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Symbolized as the National bird of the United States in 1782, Bald Eagles are unique to North America and they can be found in abundance in many areas of the Cascade Loop throughout the year

The size of these majestic birds makes them easy to spot, especially during winter in leafless trees. Standing on a branch, they are over three feet tall, and in flight, their wingspan can be as much as eight feet.

Adults are easily identified by their white heads and black feathers. Juvenile eagle coloring is variations of all black, to mottled white and black feathers, but they don’t acquire a white head and tail until adulthood, in their fifth year.

One of the Bald Eagle’s favorite meals is salmon, and they often prey on other creature’s catches – they have been known to steal from the talons of Osprey. One of the most common places to find these massive birds is on tree branches overlooking the ocean or a river. In winter, they can also be seen feasting on roadkill near highways. Look for congregations of crows in the snow – they can be a great clue to the presence of a carcass, and eagles.

Bald Eagles migrate south from Alaska during the winter, and they can be found in large numbers along river valleys of the Cascade Loop in January and February. Look in the tree tops as you travel through the Skagit Valley, Wenatchee River Valley and the Methow Valley. The Columbia River is also a frequent location, where they can be spotted, often soaring along the outcrops of rocks beside the highway, hunting rodents.

Photo Credit Pete Freund Photog