The island of Unalaska, Alaska has one of the largest bald eagle populations in the world.
This small town of 5,000 people is just a few miles long, but it’s home to over 600 bald eagles! Bald eagles are drawn to this island because it has a large concentration of their favorite foods, including carrion and waterfowl.
The bald eagles are particularly drawn to Unalaska’s main port, Dutch Harbor.
More fish are caught at this harbor than in any other harbor in the United States. On average, the harbor pulls in 787 million pounds of fish per year! With so much seafood coming in, the fishermen are often able to leave scraps for the bald eagles.
One fisherman, Jessie Peck, decided to take video of the bald eagles’ feeding time. The video quickly went viral, receiving more than eight million views.
The video begins by showing Peck feeding a few birds who have flocked at his feet. The birds happily eat the shrimp he gives them. More and more birds fly onto the fishing boat, hoping to get some of the shrimp. Soon, around a dozen birds are standing by Peck.
Then, the person holding the camera pans left, revealing how many birds are truly on the boat.
There are bald eagles everywhere—standing on the boat’s railing, perched on the mast, flying through the air around the boat. By the time the video ends, there are at least three dozen bald eagles all around the fishing boat!
Unalaska has now become famous for its large bald eagle population. Residents of the town have been featured in tons of videos and articles.
In these articles and videos, the residents explain what it’s like to live in a place where bald eagles are as common as pigeons. In one article, the town’s police chief explained how they keep people safe from eagle attacks:
“We have these signs that we put up every year to remind people that there are nesting eagles in the area,” Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley told Alaska Public Media. “They will do whatever it takes to protect their young.”
In another video, a police officer, Kevin Wood, explains that the post office is one of the most dangerous places to go in town. This is because there’s an eagle nest right next to the post office’s door. Unalaska residents are now used to this, and they take extra precaution when they go to mail a letter.
Overall, though, Unalaska residents enjoy having so many bald eagles in their town. They’ve learned how to live with the bald eagles, and they know what to do to prevent the territorial birds from attacking.
“Do I think they’re pests?” said Bob Wilson, a boat captain who fishes in Dutch Harbor. “Oh absolutely, but they’re cool pests, so that’s okay.”
The town of Unalaska is an unusual town where bald eagles and humans have learned to live in harmony! If you’d like to see the town’s bald eagles in action, check out the video below.
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Source: Jessie Peck