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Eagle Eye Viewers

Four things to know before setting out on an eagle watching adventure in North Idaho

Eagle watching cruises are done for the season, but that doesn’t mean you have to forego witnessing the unique congregation of one of America’s largest raptors feeding on spent fish in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Now that the holiday crowds have thinned, cash in on these tips for where to go to view America’s national symbol.

What to bring? Wear sturdy shoes and expect to walk in winter conditions from the parking area to the viewing area, which may or may not be paved. Higgens Point offers a view of Wolf Lodge Bay and is easily accessible from Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.

Expect to stand. A lot. Eagle watching requires patience and is best on clear, cold days in the early morning when birds actively feed.
If parking along the side of the road, such as off Highway 97 at Mineral Ridge — there is also a trailhead and parking area near the boat ramp — be mindful of cars and other wildlife viewers too. Leave the dog at home; loud noises, including barking, can upset the birds. In fact, do not approach eagles, ever; it’s bad for them and could earn you a fine as these birds are federally protected.

Bundle up. Eagles typically arrive in November when the kokanee salmon, a favorite food, reproduce. Eagle-watching peaks in December, sometimes numbering more than 200 birds, and wanes in mid-to-late January when they head south. That being said, there were still oodles of eagles spotted last week on the lake.

Bring Binoculars. Experts suggest you have your binoculars at the ready, scanning the treeline for the birds’ telltale shape and bright white head so you know where to look with your lenses. Speaking of lenses, if you’re hoping to “catch” an eagle on camera, you’ll need to upgrade your camera to include a telephoto lens. A tripod is also helpful. And use faster shutter speeds to capture these majestic birds.

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Special Events

Mac & Cheese Dinner Cruise
Kick off the Mac & Cheese Festival Weekend right with a family-friendly dinner cruise on the lake which features an “Around the World Macaroni & Cheese Menu” with pasta creations from Mexico, Italy and America. Adults $35, children 6-12 $25, 5 and under free; 5 pm and 7:30 pm.

Macaroni & Fromage Wine Dinner
Make the Mac & Cheese Festival into a weekend — and start it with an exclusive five-course dinner which will artfully pair exquisite macaroni and fromage (aka cheese) with exceptional wine. Reservations $99; Beverly’s at the Coeur d’Alene Resort; 6 pm; call 855-379-5478.

Mac & Cheese Festival
Get your tickets before they’re gone! During this delicious festival local chefs compete for the Golden Noodle award, and ticket holders get to benefit from this friendly competition. The MAC PAC ($20) includes six tasters. The MAC & Beer package ($30) includes six tasters plus eight (4-ounce) beer tastings and a commemorative pint. Coeur d’Alene Plaza Shops; noon-6 pm.
(208) 664-3194
105 N. First Street
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

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