Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve
The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was created in 1982 when the state reserved 48,000 acres along the Chilkat, Klehini and Tsirku Rivers to protect the largest known gathering of bald eagles in the world. Every portion of the preserve is used by eagles at some time during the year but from October to February, more than 3000 eagles congregate here to feed on spawning chum salmon. They come because an upwelling of warm water prevents the river from freezing, thus encouraging the late salmon run. It's a remarkable sight - hundreds of birds sitting in the bare trees lining the river, often six or more birds to a branch.
Even during the summer the preserve is one of the best places to see an eagle in Southeast Alaska. The Chilkat Valley is the year-round home for between 200 and 400 eagles and more than 80 eagle nests have been observed in the preserve itself. By the time the fall migration begins in October, the resident eagles are through raising their young but immature eagles will often stay nearby for a year or more.