Winter Council

February 8, 2018

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During early winter, the Chilkat River near Klukwan, Alaska hosts the largest concentration of bald eagles on Earth.  The eagles gather to feast on an early winter chum salmon run.  Due to a geological condition known as an alluvial fan where the Chilkat, Klehini, and Tsirku Rivers meet, the water remains ice free, permitting the eagles to catch salmon during a normally difficult season for wildlife.  In this image, I sought to convey this spectacle which often is referred to as the Council grounds as the eagles return each winter here as if to participate in an annual council meeting. Often overlooked during winter due to to frigid conditions, this ecosystem during winter turns into a fairy tale of breathtaking natural beauty.  Adding to the enchantment is the cultural and historical significance of this river to the Tinglit Chilkat People of Alaska - the original inhabitants of this land.