Eagles flocked to the Chilkat River near Haines and Klukwan in great numbers this year. But the number of human visitors coming to see them was way down.
According to American Bald Eagle Foundation Executive Director Cheryl McRoberts, 99 people registered for the weeklong event this year. She says typically the festival sees over 300 guests.
McRoberts attributes some of the decline in visitors to the limited restaurant options in Haines this time of year.
The early November gathering happens just after the summer tourism season winds down, and several restaurants have closed for the winter.
The festival centers around eagle viewing and photography on the Chilkat River. It also features events like natural history talks, a banquet and auction, and the release of rehabilitated eagles.
Despite low numbers, McRoberts says the foundation still made a profit, grossing over $19,000. She says she’s grateful for the businesses that remained open during the event.