Twenty miles south of the Canadian border and twenty miles east of Bellingham, there is a gathering of America’s flying mascot. Along the shores of North Fork of the Nooksack River, hundreds of bald eagles feast upon the schools of returning chum salmon. As the chum slowly start to decompose after arriving in freshwater and spawning, eagles from around the Pacific Northwest flock to the region in hopes for serious sustenance. Visible from the road, this amazing display of nature is the perfect weekend trip for residents of the Pacific Northwest.
In an interview with the Bellingham Herald, Kelly Reagan, who is the education coordinator at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center in Rockport described the event as “one of the largest migrations in the lower 48 states.”
According to the Bellingham Herald report at the end of 2015, nearly 300 bald eagles were counted at multiple sites along the nearby Skagit River. While I have not been able to locate official numbers for the Nooksack River, the image below shows just how many are typically in the area at the end of December and early January.
While I could go on and on about how awesome it is to see hundreds of eagles in trees, along the river and in the air, it is better if I just give you directions and a few links to make your trip to the region amazing. Don’t delay in heading up north to see the eagles, as they will only be around as long as the salmon are spawning and dying.
Your best bet for dated, but relevant information is to check out the Skagit Eagle Watchers Page for the Nooksack River. The page hasn’t been adding new info since early 2014, but gives a great overview of the area and shows what you might see though stunning pictures.
For updated content and important birding information in the area, please go the the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center’s website. They are quite awesome and give tips, locations and updated bird counts.
Finally, here are the directions to the Mosquito Lake Road and Bridge.
Top Image taken by Eric Ellingson