We have a large and healthy population of eagles on Whidbey Island. I was reminded of this the other day as I drove through town, and saw a pair of eagles flying in lazy circles above our Chamber of Commerce office next to North Whidbey Middle School. The last official count in 2005 had 47 nesting pairs on Whidbey Island, but I suspect the number is higher now. A few weeks ago, as I was driving back from Coupeville, I saw seven eagles flying in four different places along the way.
I am fortunate to live a couple of hundred feet from a protected eagle habitat, so I see eagles almost daily as they skim over my roof on the way to fish at the beach a few hundred yards away. It is also a rare day when we don’t see at least one eagle overhead in downtown Oak Harbor. The downtown Oak Harbor waterfront seems to be one of the most popular places for the eagles to fish.
With three pairs of eagles living at the Seaplane Base on the edge of downtown, perhaps that is no surprise, but it is also common to see an eagle sitting on a piling in the harbor or atop a light pole downtown on Bayshore Drive. The other place I can almost guarantee to see eagles daily, is at Dugualla Bay. There, a pair of eagles are often seen sitting atop power poles along Dike Road next to the Dugualla Flats. Another place that eagles are commonly sighted is on Ault Field, which is the main base portion of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
I have seen eagles there sitting in trees next to the flagpole, sitting on the beach as if waiting for a campfire, and even seen one dive down into tidal pools along the beach.
The eagles are so accustomed to the human inhabitants of Whidbey Island, that they have even been known to play with them (incredible video!). I often sit on my deck in the summer and watch the eagles overhead playing in this same way with the crows that follow them around waiting for their scraps. For more information about the eagles of Whidbey Island, please contact the Whidbey Island Audubon Society.