American Bald Eagle Foundation      November 2019

(e)agle newsletter   113 Haines Highway Haines, AK 99827 907.766.3094
Alaska Bald Eagle Festival

The 25 th Annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival was a success! Although staff anticipated that the limited ferry schedule would make it difficult for travelers to reach Haines, locals and visitors from across the country made this year one of the largest festivals in recent years. The events were well attended throughout the week, with the Research Talks and Birdtalk packing the diorama room both evenings. 

On Saturday morning, the Jilkaat Kwaan dancers honored Festival guests with several dances at a special ceremony at the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center. Founder Dave Olerud accepted a commendation on behalf of the American Bald Eagle Foundation from Senator Jesse Kiehl representing the Alaska State Legislature citing 25 years of service in the Chilkat Valley. That evening, we hosted our Festival Banquet, the largest event of the week. Over 100 people enjoyed an evening of food catered by local chef Travis Kukull, music by local band Sunny North Extension, and dancing with caller Gene Kennedy. The dancing couldn’t even be stopped by a 20-minute power outage, with the band playing acoustically to phone and candlelight.

Thank you to the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center, Takshanuk Watershed Council, Southeast Alaska State Fair, Haines Borough Library, KHNS, Chilkat Valley News, Carolyn’s Closet, Alaska Backcountry Outfitters, Captain’s Choice Motel, Josie’s Bread and Bagels, Howser’s IGA, Alaskan Airlines, Alaska Mountain Guides, Alaska Seaplanes, Outfitter Sporting Goods, Alaska Sports Shop, Olerud’s Market, Takhini Hot Springs, Hidden Valley B&B, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Haines Brewing Company, Trail Mix, as well as all our speakers, artists, and attendees for making this an unforgettable year.
Public Market
For the second year in a row, Hans the Eurasian eagle owl traveled to Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend to visit with shoppers at the Juneau Public Market. The Public Market is a three-day event featuring artists, jewelers, and other vendors showcasing their wares and giving Juneau residents the chance to do some Christmas shopping. 

Staff members Sidney Campbell and Josh Sanko accompanied Hans and chatted with hundreds of holiday shoppers about raptors and their importance. With Public Market being one of the last big events of the season, Hans and staff get to enjoy a respite back in Haines before beginning to prepare for next year’s events. Special thanks to the Juneau Raptor Center for hosting Hans again this year and sharing the room!
Eagle Articulation
Each summer, interns at the Foundation are tasked with a project to be featured in the Natural History Museum. Under the direction of the Curator of Collections, Katelyn Dickerson, intern Richard Kline spent his internship articulating a bald eagle skeleton.

Articulation is a difficult process that takes time and care to complete. Specimens must be handled with gloves so the oils from our skin don’t cause deterioration. The bones also need to be accurately placed using thin metal wiring to replace ligaments and muscle connections. Unfortunately, the eagle skeleton was not in pristine condition, this required Richard to research bald eagle anatomy and problem solve with available materials to create an accurate depiction of the species. The completed articulation is now on display in the museum.
Species Spotlight: Salmon

There are five species of salmon that spawn in the Chilkat Valley: Sockeye ( Oncorhynchus nerka ), Chum ( O. keta ), King ( O. tshawytscha ), Silver ( O. kisutch ), and Pink ( O. gorbuscha ). All five these species are anadromous: they spawn in freshwater, migrate out to sea, and then travel back to freshwater to spawn. Each species has a different life cycle, but they all die shortly after spawning. The spawned-out salmon supply nutrients to the soil to create fertile ground for plants to grow.

Salmon are an important species in the Chilkat Valley. They bring a variety of animals to the rivers during the spawning season to feed, including bald eagles. It is the salmon who bring the bald eagles to the Chilkat River every November for the largest congregation of eagles in the United States. The Tlingit people, who have lived in the Chilkat Valley for thousands of years, have relied on the salmon runs to survive and still fish them today. The five salmon species help supply nutrients to plants, animals, and the soil to create a functional ecosystem in the Chilkat Valley.
When you become a member of the American Bald Eagle Foundation, you’re helping to fund educational programs such as our Youth Raptor Program, reduced price programs for low-income families or groups, as well as the resources we need to give our avian ambassadors the best possible care via husbandry, enrichment and training. Interested in joining?