The gathering began with a half-dozen birds in mid-November but the numbers are expected to increase steadily every week until early January, when the birds leave, according to Scott Robinson, wildlife biologist for the U.S.
Bureau of Land Management in Coeur d'Alene.
The eagles attract 4,000 birdwatchers each year, Robinson said. The BLM tracks visitors and has found they come from all 50 states and 30 different countries.
The gathering is expected to peak in late December, before the lake freezes over. When the eagles can no longer get to the fish, they move on. The birds usually feed most actively in the early morning and the late afternoon.
The BLM is sponsoring the 16th annual Eagle Watch Week at the northeast end of the lake between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, and will bring out staff biologists and exhibits on the birds.