Native Travel: It’s Eagle-Watching Season in Skagit County

Add some Native travel to your winter plans this January with a trip to Skagit County, Washington where it’s eagle-watching season.
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Put some Native travel in your winter plans with a trip to Skagit County, Washington. Not only can visitors enjoy the Skagit Eagle Festival, they can learn about the Skagit River ecosystem at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center.

The Skagit Eagle Festival is a month-long celebration with activities in Concrete, Rockport and Marblemount every full weekend in January. There are special events held each weekend including a Salmon Run and Nature Walk on January 7 and—to really kick your Native travel into high gear—a weekend of Native American history, storytelling and music on January 14 and 15. There are also recurring events, like photography tours, a deep forest tour, and eagle watcher stations.

The Concrete Chamber of Commerce offers the following tips for viewing eagles:

  • Use a telescope, binoculars, or a telephoto lens to view eagles up close.
  • Keep noise low and your movements slow.
  • Whenever you can, stay in your vehicle and use it as a blind to photograph the eagles from.
  • Don’t go near the river’s edge or gravel bars where eagles feed, especially between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.
  • Because much of the riverfront is privately owned, stay in public areas when viewing eagles.

Skagit County visitors can also stop at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center, which is celebrating 20 years this season. The center guided hikes along the Skagit River, providing visitors a better understanding of the river’s ecosystem with an emphasis on the winter migration of bald eagles, salmon, and the important role they each play in the environment. Check the calendar for presentation topics, like the guided hike being held on January 7 and the presentation called “Year of the Eagle.” A presentation on January 14 will be led by United States Fish and Wildlife eagle watcher volunteer and Skagit Valley College instructor Steve Glenn about “Winter Birds of the Upper Skagit Region.”