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General Information

Two eagles overlook the Chilkat River
© Bob Adkins
Access and Transportation
Weather and Dress
Other Festivals
Daylight Hours
Other Birding Opportunities


Access & Transportation


Visitors travel to Haines for the November festival by one of three ways: flying in a small plane; taking a ferry; or by driving on the paved highway from Haines Junction (160 miles north of Haines in the Yukon, Canada).

There is daily scheduled air service between Juneau, Skagway and Haines. However, flights are frequently canceled in November due to poor weather conditions. Please contact LAB or Wings of Alaska for flight information. It takes approximately 35 minutes to fly between Haines and Juneau on planes that seat 4-9 passengers.

Taking the Alaska State Ferry is a memorable Alaskan adventure and well worth the extra time. Ferries generally run 2-3 times per week in the winter between Haines, Skagway and Juneau. The fall/winter schedule is usually not available until late summer. Travel times are either 2-1/2 or 4-1/2 hours between Haines and Juneau depending on the ferry. For ferry reservations, contact the Alaska Marine Highway System at 1-800-642-0066.

Rental cars are available in Haines, if desired. If you stay at a motel or B&B in town, you will be able to walk to our Museum and take the shuttle to the Preserve.


Weather & Dress

Three eagles in a tree on the preserve
© Bob Adkins

Although the weather during the festival COULD be sunny and dry, be prepared for cold, wet and snowy conditions. Dress appropriately in layers, including warm winter footwear. We recommend thermal or polypropylene underwear, a wool or fleece middle layer, and a waterproof/windproof outer layer. Warm gloves, hats and waterproof boots are essential. Dress for comfort during the festival -- casual clothing is acceptable for all indoor events.

Daylight Hours


During November, the sun comes up at about 9:30 a.m. and sets at about 3:00 p.m. Best hours of light in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in November are between 10 and 2.



The following guidelines were developed to insure protection for the eagles and other critical features of the preserve.Please help us protect this area for the eagles and future visitor use.

PLEASE STAY OFF THE FLATS! This is where the eagles feed. Their energy is better utilized for feeding than by flying away from people.
VIEW EAGLES FROM AREA BETWEEN THE HAINES HIGHWAY & RIVER. Staying within this area prevents stressful conditions for the eagles. They need their space to roost and feed.
DO NOT DISTURB THE FISH IN ANY WAY. Fish are the eagles' food. Please leave all fish and fish carcasses where nature has placed them.
OBSERVE THE BIRDS FROM A DISTANCE. Use binoculars for closer looks. If the birds flush, back off. Also use long-range telephoto lenses for close-up photographs.
USE TRANSPORTATION PROVIDED. Help minimize the impact on the eagles by using the bus or van transportation. If you must drive, please park only in designated turnouts. Never stop on the roadway. Do not set up tripods on the road.

(Excerpted, in part, from the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve brochure.)



Photographers in the eagle preserve
© Bob Adkins

The following is a checklist of recommended photography equipment:

1. 35mm single lens reflex camera body
2. Sturdy tripod with no plastic components. The cheapest tripods will quickly fail in Alaskan weather conditions. Hint: wrap the upper legs with foam water pipe insulation to protect your hands from freezing metal.
3. 50-55 mm lens for landscapes, scenery, etc.
200-500 mm telephoto lens (requires sturdy tripod for good results)
200mm is good for 'environmental' images and large groups of birds
300mm is good for groups — individual birds may fill 1/4 of the frame
400mm is good for small groups — individual birds may fill 1/2 of the frame
500mm — individual birds may fill 3/4 of the frame
4. Cable release (bring a spare — they're easy to lose!)
5. Film — ISO 100-200, slides or prints (you may easily go through 5 rolls per day)
6. Spare batteries — cold saps batteries quickly and the nearest store is 20 miles away!
7. Rain gear for your camera — a small umbrella or plastic bag will do.


Other Festivals


Sitka Whale Fest happens around the same time as the Bald Eagle Festival and makes a nice combination package.
Godwit Days Migratory Bird Festival
American Birding Association Festivals Directory
Homer Shorebird Festival


Other Birding Opportunities


For additional Birding Festivals and Tours, please click on the following logos:

Alaska Raptor Center Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival St. Paul Island Tour Alaska Nature Tours
The Grand Aleutian Kenai Fjords Tours Alaska Sealife Center Bird Watching Tours of Anchorage
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