Roadtrippin’ 2023: Heading to Haines, a town where eagles soar

Roadtrippin' 2023: Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and American Bald Eagle Foundation
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:36 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 30, 2023 at 4:12 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HAINES, Alaska (KTUU) - Whether you are a first-time visitor to Alaska or have lived here all your life, many of us get a thrill when we spot a bald eagle.

Haines, in Southeast Alaska, is a town where seeing eagles is nearly guaranteed.

More than a dozen miles outside of town is the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, a state park that boasts the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world. Every fall some 4,000 eagles congregate in the preserve to feast on a late-season salmon run in the Chilkat River.

The American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines hosts a four-day festival every November to celebrate the gathering of eagles that attracts hundreds of visitors, according to Ali Gustavson, Education Director at the foundation. Gustavson said visitors can expect to see eagles in any season since the town has at least 400 of the birds who live there year-round.

In the spring, Gustavson said, visitors should train their eyes to search the treetops for nests where mated pairs of eagles are laying their eggs. The young chicks may be visible to onlookers later in the summer.

The foundation also offers tours of its facilities and a chance to meet its three education eagles up close. Gustavson said it’s a unique opportunity to learn more about Alaska’s most majestic bird and see why Haines is a place that welcomes both eagles and the people who flock here to see them in the wild.