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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, Nov 25, 2013: Bald Eagles, Lake Couer d'Alene

Winter 2010 006 Lake Couer d'Alene. Bald Eagle Card-001


Where ever I travel, the sight of a large bird of prey in flight makes me (and most everyone else around) stop and watch.  That's certainly true for the American Bald Eagle.


Every year between mid-November and mid-January there's a migration of bald eagles to Lake Couer d’Alene in the Idaho panhandle.  While a few dozen eagles live on the lake year round, most are transient opportunists from northern Idaho and the Canadian Rockies, and they can number in the hundreds.  The eagles come to feast on the land-locked kokanee salmon which swim into the bays and creeks surrounding the lake where they spawn and die.  These fish tend to be small (about a half kg or so), perfect size for an eagle to scoop from the water with its two inch talons while in flight, and there’s plenty of fish around.  The winter climate on the Lake is mild and the surrounding hills provide plenty of large trees for perch and rest (eagles often have preferred trees and even specific limbs to which they like to return).  


Winter 2010 042 Lake Couer d'Alene. Bald Eagle


Female bald eagles are slightly larger than males and the pairs mate for life.  Adults weigh around 5 kg, are a meter tall and have a wingspan of more than 2 m.  Their powerful wings can propel them up to 750 km/day.  Adults having a distinctive white head and tail feathers; juvenile birds under age four have a uniform dark brown color. 


I never tire of watching these birds! 


Images (2)
  • Bald Eagle in flight, Lake Couer d'Alene, Idaho: It's surprisingly hard to frame a flying eagle and get a steady shot.
  • A pair of bald eagles resting on the limbs of a dead tree: Lake Couer d'Alene, Idaho.  Note the whore-frost on the tree.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Comments (4)

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I'm enjoying reading these Blogs !

Very educational.

Natural history is so interesting.

Thanks DrF.


Did you know that during the dry season Alligators dig holes in the river bed.

When the river swells in the wet season these holes fill with water. And Fish.

The Alligator does not harm them. He goes off to find his food in the river.

When the river dries out he is left with holes full of Fish who have taken refuge from the receding water.

They are the Alligators "Larder" to get him through the dry season.

Last edited by GarryRF

Thanks for the comment, GarryRF.  I do love love nature and natural history and often my travels center around seeing these sorts of sights.


I did not know that about alligators and the fish.  But I can't say I'm surprised.  Nature has developed marvelous mechanisms of adaptation that never cease to amaze me.


What I am looking forward to, as are others, is your first piece on those great Cuban cars.  Not nature, but beauty of a different kind!

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