by Klondike Kid
The Best Bald Eagle Viewing Locations
One of America's favorite subjects. And there are plenty of them on the Kenai Peninsula. The eagle on the left was perched right outside my back deck. From my personal observations it appears that their numbers are increasing yearly with a great number over-wintering in the area, especially on the Homer Spit where scraps from a local fish cannery provide additional food supply. Your chance of spotting one is 100%. It appears that at least 60-70% hang out near the saltwater areas while the remainder concentrate inland around rivers, streams and lakes which have salmon runs in them. The Location Map is at the end of this article.
In the Seward area just look around. They are often flying around town along the waterfront, harbor area and where the Resurrection River drains into the bay. If you go on one of the Kenai Fjords tour boats, you can spot them in the trees along the rocky mountainsides or flying along the shoreline looking for lunch.
In the interior of the Peninsula they can be seen around the Kenai Lake area and along the Kenai River. The road follows the shoreline and riverbank in many areas. The Cooper Landing area of the Kenai River is a popular gathering spot for eagles scouting for salmon along the riverbanks. Look in the trees near the river and on sandbars and gravel shoals where dying salmon are likely to wash ashore.
If you are fishing the Kenai River below Skilak Lake all the way to the mouth near the town of Kenai, you won't have any problems seeing eagles as they fly the river system looking for fish scraps to feed their young. There are many bald eagle nests along the Kenai River so keep your eyes open for a massive nest usually situated in the tallest cottonwood trees along the river. Most river guides know where they are and can point them out.
Many eagles can been viewed around the Kenai Flats at the mouth of the Kenai River. When spring arrives the migrating waterfowl stop here to rest and replenish their food reserves. Eagles can be seen "buzzing" the flocks of ducks and geese while looking for weak or dead birds that would provide an easy meal. As the waterfowl head north, the hooligan (a small smelt) begins migrating up the river to spawn. The eagles can be frequently seen soaring along the river looking for these small fish and often land on the sandbars below the bridge at low tide.
If you are heading south from Soldotna along the Sterling Highway to Homer, there are many opportunities to view eagles on the beach, sitting on the side of the bluffs or soaring around the mouths of many streams the run into Cook Inlet. Drive into the village of Ninilchik and look up. Its that easy.
At the Deep Creek Campground located at the mouth of the creek where it enters Cook Inlet, many bald eagles can be seen flying in the area and feeding on salmon and halibut scaps that have washed up on the beach after the fishermen have cleaned their catch. If you are going on a fishing charter for King salmon in this area you will spot many birds along the bluff.
The farthest point south on the Sterling Highway is Homer, where the road ends and the sea begins. No problem spotting bald eagles here. Drive out to the Homer Spit and look along the beach as well as around the harbor and campground areas. Many eagles over-winter here and can be photographed easily. During the summer they can often be seen soaring just 50 feet above your head as they search the beaches for fish scraps left by anglers cleaning their catch.
Bald eagles are found throughout the Peninsula and one can spot them sooner or later just about everywhere. But the areas listed are guaranteed to provide a great opportunity.
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