Feeding eagles not at all like feeding bears

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2006

In reference to Gary Clardy’s letter of Jan. 17, the comparison of feeding the eagles to stupidity of the Treadwell incident is ridiculous and a far stretch of common reasoning.

Some have compared the feeding of the eagles on the Homer spit to those birds gathered around the garbage dumps (all over Alaska and elsewhere).

Let’s face it, the American bald eagle is a scavenger. Like most scavengers it will seek out the easiest method of filling it’s belly. Once (and if) the feeding of the eagles stops, those magnificent birds will no longer spend the winters in that area expecting to find handouts.

Jean Keene opens her facility for photographers, professional and amateur alike to come in and enjoy the experience of being close to these wonderful creatures. She charges nothing for people to come and experience this gathering. Sometimes she even has to be forced to accept donations to help her in her efforts.

Many of the eagle images that are published worldwide have been taken from her compound. I applaud her efforts to care for and help share the wonders of these creatures.

What I don’t agree with are the photographers who choose to set up their own feeding areas.

Regardless of how many people come to Alaska to view wildlife now or in the future, regulating the feeding of the eagles during a small 3 month window during the winter will not affect those numbers.

Helping the eagles survive through the winter in a harsh environment does not make them more aggressive or dangerous to humans. It certainly is not like going out into bear country and trying to make them accept you as one of their own.

James Trombley


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