Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Alaska

Posted at 5:50 pm, October 12th, 2002

I’m nearly nine hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle now, and it’s like I’ve gone backwards in time — the temperatures are in the forties and fifties, the trees have leaves, and the smell of autumn is again in the air. I came down here to visit the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, which from October to January hosts the largest concentration of bald eagles anywhere in the world — between three and four thousand eagles gather here to catch a late run of salmon. The preserve is literally packed with eagles — I counted nearly fifty on a sandbar this morning, and it’s tough to find a stand of trees that doesn’t have at least one eagle in it. While it’s amazing to see so many eagles, the most incredible thing about this place is the sound — the cry of a single eagle is inspiring, but hearing multiple eagles calling out to one another is an experience that even a poet would have trouble putting into words.

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