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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:27 AM
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Default Eagles Swim in Alaska

I just stumbled across this wild photo:
Eagles Swim in Alaska
Has anyone else seen this?
Can I expect this Alaskan Wildlife to do anything else unusual?

Sun Princess Jul-2007 Alaska
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Old January 30th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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I have seen two events in the Ketchikan area that suggest that large birds of prey can swim and dive. Once a large owl tried to grab a rat and ended up flush on the water in the harbor in winter. I was about to go rescue it but it "humped/swam" its way to shore and survived (minus the rat). I have seen bald eagles flush on the water or maybe even submerged when diving for herring. The bald eagle is the only bird I know of that can lift its entire weight off the water on its wingtips and immediatly take to the air with a herring.

It is my belief that there are too many bald eagles in Alaska and they have outpaced the food supply, so they often scavenge in the dumps and streams for dead animals/fish in the times when food is scarce.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 04:24 AM
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Default Swimming

I once observed a hawk swim to shore on a lake in Colorado.

Yet I was not lucky enough to witness this on my last Alaska cruise.

It makes me feel good that others share the wonder our world offers.
Thanks for the fascinating post.
The images are beautiful.
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Old January 31st, 2007, 05:08 PM
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Back in the 1970's when I was a kid, there was a young Bald Eagle that wound up hanging out in our town in a particular tree for about 3 weeks. It was the biggest thing for our town.

If Alaska has too many eagles, by all means, feel free to send some here! It was nice to see something that rare in our area.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Default Bald Eagles

I agree Cassandra. If Alaska has too many eagles, send some our way.

Also a valuable history lesson may be in order:

More than 100,000 bald eagles were killed in Alaska from 1917 to 1953. Alaskan salmon fisherman feared they were a threat to the salmon population. This is a direct behavior drove Bald Eagles to the brink of extinction in Alaska.

I guess that even in the amazing glory of Alaska, we can sometimes still believe humans are the center of the universe.

However, maybe some are beginning to get the point. I understand the State of Alaska has finally stopped arial "thinning" of wolves. Apparently the wolves were eating too many moose leaving fewer for hunters to have.

Thank you for the post maribrandt.

Anybody else have any thoughts on this?
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Old February 4th, 2007, 11:50 PM
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>>However, maybe some are beginning to get the point. I understand the State of Alaska has finally stopped arial "thinning" of wolves. Apparently the wolves were eating too many moose leaving fewer for hunters to have. <<

But the area where hunters can kill unlimited numbers of them (and grizzlies, too, for the same reason) has been greatly enlarged.

Murray
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Old February 5th, 2007, 12:34 AM
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Thank you for the amazing and beautiful pictures! We are looking forward to our first cruise to Alaska, and this is getting us even more excited!
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Old February 12th, 2007, 01:45 AM
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That was amazing!!!!!
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:36 PM
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I see eagles "swimming" often. It's usually in May and June, before the big salmon runs come in. The swimming results from the eagle being "greedy" and not wanting to let go of a large fish it's caught. As far as I know they CAN let go when they've hooked into something big, they're just too stubborn (some would say dumb) to let go when the weight of the fish is too much and pulls them down.

They do that "swimming" motion with their wings - even under water... I've watched them catch such large fish that at first you could see the whole eagle swimming with just his feet in the water, then the body was submerged, then the wings... all you could see was a white head jerking violently and looking a bit concerned. By the time one eagle got to a rock he could stand on, all we saw was a yellow beak. Then more of the eagle emerged until we finally saw the large salmon he had caught.

They haven't outpaced their food supply, they're just smart enough to take the easy meal vs. something they need to work for. When millions of pink and chum salmon run up rivers here, then spawn and die, you'll see literally thousands of eagles (and bears, foxes, wolves...just about anything that eats fish) out on the beaches scavenging for the protien-rich bellies of the dead fish. Same concept applies to the landfills - why work for a meal when it's just lying on the ground?

-Case
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:49 PM
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Welcome to 'this' board, Case...I'm fairly new here myself...I've been on the 'other' board...Keep on telling us about Alaska...We will be there in June...Susan
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:58 PM
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Hi Susan!
I've found 6 of these boards... it's getting hard to keep up with all of them. Of course, now I don't have to pay attention to one of them quite as much! ;-)

Oh, posts not related to the topic at hand (in this case "swimming eagles") tend to get pulled on most boards...

June is a great time for eagle watching. They're still up in the trees, so you can spot the little white heads against the dark green hemlock and spruce trees very easily. Later, once the fish get thick in the streams, the eagles leave the trees in favor of a much easier meal on the beaches.

I acutally heard an eagle and a big raven "arguing" outside my house today... one would call and squalk, then the other would answer back with something that sounded like a soprano opera singer being strangled to death! I guess it's supposed to be a sign that spring is here, but the 6-8 feet of snow in my driveway would indicate otherwise!

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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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I enjoy your posts also Case. I will NEVER forget seeing "our" eagle swim in Glacier Bay. We return in June also, can't wait.
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