Follow migrating eagles to the scenic North Cascades at the Skagit Eagle Festival weekends through January in Concrete, Rockport and Marblemount.
Bald eagles have become a common sight around Western Washington, and their winter migration to feast on spawning salmon in the Upper Skagit watershed provides an opportunity to see them in groups in beautiful, natural surroundings, feeding along riverbeds or roosting in trees in numbers peaking in January, when they come from as far away as Alaska.
Reflecting its quiet natural setting, the festival is a low-key event with tours, walks and educational programs, including a 5K Salmon Run along the Skagit River Saturday, kids’ story times, music, presentations on eagles and photography workshops. Sarvey Wildlife Care Center brings raptors for an up-close visit Jan. 17 and Challenger Ridge Vineyard and Cellars hosts activities Jan. 24, both in Concrete.
Volunteers provide information, scopes and binoculars to help visitors spot the sometimes-elusive guests of honor Saturdays and Sundays at three locations along the Highway 20 corridor, Sutter Creek Rest Area, Marblemount Fish Hatchery and Howard Miller Steelhead Park. Their website provides counts of eagles recently seen, updated weather reports, maps and other helpful information.
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The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport provides information and hosts guided ranger hikes at 11 a.m. and presentations at 1 p.m. most Saturdays and Sundays.
If you’re bringing your own scopes or binoculars, from dawn to 11 a.m. is usually a good time to see salmon feeding along the river. Don’t disturb them with noise or by approaching too closely.
Information on migrating eagles and other local resources and attractions is available 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Concrete Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center, 45770 Main St., in Concrete.
Madeline McKenzie: firstname.lastname@example.org