|By Kara Furr
Photo by Gene Davis
Hundreds of eagles from Alaska and northern Canada migrate to the Skagit River each winter to prey on the salmon spawning in the river. Catching a sight of this spectacle is a winter-must.The best eagle-watching season is from late November to late January, with numbers usually peaking from the last week in December through mid-January. There are several ways to observe the hundreds of eagles that take their perch along the river, from both water and land. A popular yearly tradition for kayakers, canoeists and rafters is the Skagit River Eagle Float – whether on your own or with a commercial rafting trip, this is an intimate way of appreciating the beauty of both the river and the eagles.
If you’d rather stay on dry land, there are many pullouts along Highway 20 in the Bald Eagle Natural Area, 2,450 acres along the upper Skagit River at the confluence with the Sauk River, east of Concrete.
A great place to make a stop is Howard Miller Steelhead County Park in Rockport, home to the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center (skagiteagle.org), open Saturday and Sunday in December and January. The center is a great resource for information on eagles and viewing sights – they also offer guided walks.
Also view eagles on the North Fork of the Nooksack River; visit Deming Homestead Eagle Park, at 3373 Mt. Baker Highway.