For many years, Jean Keane fed fish to eagles in Homer, Alaska during the winter months. The town established an ordinance prohibiting the feeding under the belief that doing so was detrimental to the well being of the eagles. While there is much controversy over this decision, 2009 is to be the last year that the Bald Eagles will be fed during the winter months in Homer Alaska. I decided to make the trip and try my luck at photographing eagles in flight.
The road from Anchorage to Homer passes along Turnagain Arm, a large expanse of water which is very shallow due to the silt build up from glacial waters. The huge tidal difference is evident in the chunks of ice that form when high tide brings in a lot of water, and then flows out at low tide leaving the ice sitting on the bottom.
Further along the road to Homer are several rivers. The rivers keep flowing, with the amount of ice on the surface varying with the flow of water.
We are regularly visited by a group of seven male turkeys, who come to the yard to eat seeds we put out for the birds. For twenty years we had never seen a turkey in our yard and for the last five years or so we’ve had as many as 27 visit at once. They have become acoustomed to us bringing birdseed out for them, and often walk as close as 8-10 feet from us without getting nervous.
This winter has been colder than most, and one side effect is frost growing on the windows. The crustal structures grow on very cold glass where moist air leaks in between the two panes of glass. The rounded ice structures are made from thawing and freezing cycles. These are water drops frozen in place. These were taken with a Canon 100mm macro lens, handheld.
On December 20, 2008 we had a snowstorm that dropped 10 inches of snow in our yard. Since we feed the birds a variety of foods, we attract a large variety of birds that say over the winter. Not only do we get the typically wintering birds such as Blue Jays, Chickadees, Cardinals, Juncos and Titmouse, we also have a resident Carolina Wren and a Northern Oriole which stay for the winter. I believe the oriole is the same one that stayed last winter as it has learned to eat the variety of food we put out; peanuts, bread, and seeds from the feeders. Orioles are insect feeders and have a soft bill so cracking seeds is not an option. This one has figured out, or learned by watching the others, how to perch on suet feeders as well as the tube feeders hanging in the yard.
The day after the storm, I went into the back yard to photographs birds while it was still snowing a bit to make the images shown here.